CYCLE trips in Exeter have passed the one million mark for the first time and Cycle Exeter is celebrating with the launch of campaign to encourage more people to ride.
The Freedom of Your City campaign aims to reach 1.6 million cycle trips a year by 2011. That would effectively double the figure from 2005 when the Cycle Exeter project started.
An impressive 1,094,000 trips were made on bicycles in Exeter in 2008, the equivalent of an additional 817 trips every day and a 37 per cent increase since 2005. The data has been taken from the automatic cycle counters across the city.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “We’re launching this campaign because we want to inspire all types of people in Exeter to switch to two wheels to improve their quality of life and make our city an excellent place to live. If a hundred people make a pledge on launch day and each of them sign up one more person in a week – and they then do the same, we could have everyone in Exeter cycling more by October.”
Over 61 million car journeys are made in and around Exeter every year – 40 per cent of which could be made by bike. If everyone used their bikes for ten of those car trips - less than one a month - it would free local roads from congestion, increase fitness levels in the city and help reduce Exeter’s carbon footprint.
School children are leading the way with 20 per cent of all trips to school now made by bike – compared to a national average of only two per cent. More than five local schools have already doubled cycling since 2005 and Cycle Exeter is challenging everyone to follow the example of schoolchildren and pledge to help double cycling trips in the city.
Leading businesses in Exeter are backing the new campaign and Royal Mail, EDF, Sainsburys, Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club and Exeter City Football Club have already made pledges to make their workplaces more cycle friendly.
To encourage people to pledge, Devon County Council’s Cycle Exeter team is in Bedford Square today, offering a snack breakfast and cycling freebies to the first three hundred people who make a pledge. Residents will be able to make their pledge by signing the campaign postcard or on the new website www.devon.gov.uk/cycleexeter