With local elections just over a month away on May 22, cycling charity CTC has joined forces with local campaign groups to demand that councillors create space for cycling in Britain’s towns and cities.
CTC president, newsreader Jon Snow, explains the campaign in this video:
CTC and campaign groups have created a simple website that provides a way of sending a message to your local councillor urging them to provide space for cycling.
The message points out that streets that encourage people to cycle can improve our health and air quality, reduce casualties and create safer, more pleasant neighbourhoods. But 67% of people say they aren't confident cycling on busy roads.
The CTC says that 39% of people say that they could just as easily make a two-mile car trip by bike as they do by car, yet only two percent of trips are actually made by bike and just one in ten people in cycle once a week or more.
Survey after survey has found that people cite fear of fast-moving motor traffic as their main reason for not cycling.
Councillors with responsibility for traffic planning from several cities have already given their support to the campaign.
Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, who is also vice-chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “Cycling provides huge benefits for our health and that of our streets and communities.
“Portsmouth has already done a lot to promote cycling, creating 20mph streets and a growing cycle network.
“Providing ‘Space for Cycling’ benefits everybody in our society, whether or not they choose to cycle themselves. I would urge cross-party support from councillors throughout the country for this campaign.”
Ian Davey (Green), deputy leader of Brighton & Hove City Council and its lead member for transport, said: “In Brighton & Hove, we’ve been creating space for cycling on our main roads, opening up one-way streets to allow two-way cycling and making it a better, more liveable city.
“I call on other councils to make space for cycling if they want to improve health, curb congestion and reduce pollution.”
CTC chief executive Gordon Seabright said, “With the launch of this campaign, CTC is giving people across the country the means to demand space for cycling from their local authority. We’re working with hundreds of volunteers across the country to campaign for protected space on main roads, lower speed limits and – crucially – the funding needed to make it happen.
“Space for cycling means tackling the biggest barriers to getting more people cycling: creating safe conditions on our major roads and junctions, lowering speed limits and reducing through motor traffic on residential streets.
“We’ve examples from around the country of where local authorities have made tremendous improvements, but we’re still a very long way from creating conditions where anyone can cycle anywhere.”
The national campaign has launched a map where people can also record examples of good and bad infrastructure. Each example posted into the map will go into a database of over 50,000 individual examples of cycling infrastructure maintained by social enterprise CycleStreets.
CTC is also asking people to show their support via a Twibbon campaign which adds the hashtag #space4cycling to your Twitter avatar.
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.