22 Apr 2013

Something to ask councillors- One in four non cyclists would ride with safer bike routes

There are two schools of thought on design, driven by the Vehicular and Dutch tendencies.One way has resulted in a half-baked system improving well in a few cities, the other something which many people do everyday.

Metroploitan UK hasn't got the budget (or the bottle) to grasp the nettle and do something about cycling. We have fear and loasthing in the Shires. Fear of traffic, fear of injury, fear of sweatyness, fear of helmet hair. Daily-Mail-Media-fuelled love/hate of Cycling. Cycling with a big C, that is. Cycling that needs helmets and hiviz, showers-at-work-or-we-wont-ride, must-have-an-expensive-bike. The Cyclist who rides a bike to work each day now. The 2%.

In the small c cycling world, people on bikes are just people on bikes. Most people ride beat up bikes which go well from A to B. They  They ride because it's easy, quick and direct and not to make a statement on transport. Every third person in your workplace rides a bike to work. They are the 33%.
Here in St Albans we're way behind. We have some good things-the Alban Way and the Camp Cycleway give some routes East-West and we have Sustrans route 6 winding through the city. We can avoid some nasty traffic and busy roads by legally crossing Verulamium Park, but nothing's really linked together to give people as safe feeling about riding there. The station is busy, but judging from bike traffic most people who ride to the station ride only to the station. Few people ride to work. You can take half an hour to drive through the city on a bad day.

A yougov survey, carried out for Sustans Wales reveals

"While two-thirds of people living in Wales admit to never cycling at all, half of that group say that actions could be taken to convince them to cycle; and a staggering 9-in-10 of those polled said they would welcome greater investment in safe cycle lanes in their area.

increasing the number of safe cycle routes was the clear leader among the potential interventions proposed to get those who don’t current cycle out on two wheels – with 25% of those who don’t cycle saying it was the single initiative that would make them more likely to get on their bike.
Our poll also posed a question asking whether or not people would support their local authority investing in more cycle lanes, even if this meant cutting back on spending elsewhere. Even when faced with the need to prioritise, making cycling safer was still supported by 45%, with 36% opposing"
Boiling that down, 
2/3*1/2*90/100= 1/3 people who don't cycle would if local cycling facilities were introduced.
Even if this is 100% overstated (it was a Sustrans survey after all) we are still talking about an large number of people in St Albans who would take up cycling if condidtions were improved.

County council candidates will be doorstepping you in advance of the counrt council elections early next month.

Ask them what they are doing about cycling in St Albans. The survey results speak for themsleves- people support cycling facilities and will ride if they are provided. We need a better cycling strategy for the city, planned and implemented properly.

Ride safe and often now it's summer.

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