Cambridgeshire County Council has this week backed The Times newspaper’s Cities Fit For Cycling campaign and immediately implemented one of the eight points contained in the initiative’s manifesto by appointing one of its councillors to the new post of Cycling Champion.
The newspaper had urged that “every city, even those without an elected mayor, should appoint a cycling commissioner to push home reforms,” an appeal subsequently endorsed by transport minister, Norman Baker.
In Cambridgeshire that role will now be fulfilled by County Councillor Martin Curtis, a Conservative and Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Olympic co-ordinator. The creation of that position was proposed by fellow Councillor Shona Johnstone, who had tabled a motion debated earlier this week for the county to adopt the Cities Fit For Cycling manifesto.
The county council is responsible for the roads in Cambridge itself as well as most of those in the surrounding county, with the city already enjoying the highest levels of cycling in the UK. Earlier this month, it was revealed that bicycles now make up almost a quarter of Cambridge’s traffic.
Councillor Curtis’s new role will see him promote cyclists’ interests across all of the council’s work, including making it easier and safer for people to choose to use bikes for their journeys throughout the county.
“I am honoured to be chosen for this vital role which will help improve an already UK leading record on cycling,” he commented.
“I am a keen cyclist and marathon runner and know just how important it is to provide the right facilities and conditions to encourage even greater levels of cycling.
“Not only is cycling good for the health and well being of our communities but also our economic success.
“This is about improving cycling for the whole of our County, from our cities to our rural areas.”
Councillor Johnstone added: “Cambridgeshire has made great strides in improving cycling in Cambridgeshire putting us as one of the top areas in the country. But we can do better and I was glad to see councillors from all parties support this motion.
“This will help us take the next steps to further improve cycling levels which are vital in reducing congestion, helping the economic prosperity of the area and achieving better health outcomes for our communities.”
Last month, Cambridge City Council became the first local authority to officially adopt The Times newaspaper’s campaign.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.