A petition calling the Government to address the increasing amount of aggression that cyclists are receiving has been launched. It asks the Government to:
Run a public awareness campaign to address driver aggression toward cyclists
In 2019, 16,884 cyclists were injured in reported road accidents, including 4,433 who were killed or seriously injured. These figures only include cyclists killed or injured in road accidents that were reported to the police. Many cyclist casualties are not reported to the police.
Driver aggression towards cyclists feels to be increasing & we are calling on the Department of Transport to run a national public awareness campaign to educate motorists about dangerous behaviours.
Whitchurch Town Council has started a review of the Neighbourhood Plan.
The Whitchurch Neighbourhood Development Plan (WNDP) was passed by local Referendum in 2017 and adopted by Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council. It includes policies, aims and proposals for development in the town that take place to 2029. It is now being reviewed.
Whilst the main focus of the Review is on setting locations for future housing development it also sets recommendations and policies for other strategic issues. These include sustainable travel and environmental concerns, which of course includes cycling, walking and also climate change.
There could be opportunities to set new or strengthen policies that enhance the cycling and walking experience in the town and local area. These may include provision of safe routes and facilities which would local improve safety, access, health, the economy and the environment.
A team is being set up which includes sustainable travel as one of its main considerations. Details are available via Whitchurch Town Council.
Details of the Pedal With Alice 2021 event have been announced. It is to be held at Thruxton on Sunday 12th September, 11.00am – 3.00pm Alice was a wonderful young lady who’s life changed in 2013, when after feeling unwell diagnosis led to being a rare cancer, and after a series of intensive chemotherapy treatments and operations, the cancer spread and Alice wrote her bucket list.
Amazing Alice’s charity mission is to help other families of children who have been treated on the Southampton’s paediatric oncology unit create long lasting memories. Our mission is to provide special times for families doing the things their children enjoy doing.
The date has been confirmed for the Andover Cycling Festival for 2021 – it being held on Sunday 11th June. All rides for this excellent day start at Andover Guildhall. Three sportive rides out into the local countryside are planned as well as a closed circuit Children’s Ride in the town centre.
Start times for the rides are:
80 miles – 8.30am 50 miles – 9.00am 15 miles – 9.30am Childrens Ride – Town Centre closed circuit 10.00am
Has anyone used the new Shared Cycle/Pedestrian path at Mill Springs in Whitchurch?
‘Chicane’ barriers have been erected at each end that are making it difficult for a number of users. (click on pics to enlarge)
Staggered ‘chicane’ railings have been placed on the David Wilson Homes development that are causing access issues making the route less convenient and appealing to those it is supposed to cater for.
These are especially awkward for those with pushchairs, prams, wheelchairs or using mobility scooters, as well as for larger cycles such as tandems, tricycles, cargo bikes or those with the popular family trailers and tagalongs. For some the barriers make it impassable. While there has not been a legal case they may also be breaking the requirements of the 2010 Equality Act.
The picture at the Micheldever Road end shows that some people are avoiding the barriers by going around them. That of course is not possible for some with mobility scooters or with less manoeuverable cycles. There has even been an attempt to block this desire line, with installation of a ‘bollard bodge’.
Meanwhile at the other end of the path, by the new changing rooms, there are also barriers and bollards, again with similar access issues. Here there are two removable bollards which are fine for controlling access by motor vehicles, but then another ‘chicane’ barrier. The result is that maintenance vehicles have been churning up the grass to go around the staggered barriers. Why was this placed here? It would be useful to hear the thinking!
Such chicane barriers are being removed in parts of the country – yet here in Whitchurch they are installed. Whitchurch should, and can, do better.
Whitchurch Town Council has launched a survey to find out where cycle parking could be provided in the town. If you visit Whitchurch, even if only occasionally, you can help.
Do you visit the cafés, shops, parks, businesses, local services? Where would help you?
Early in 2020 the Town Council had installed parking racks in the centre to help prevent leaning on windows and to provide facilities for cyclists wanting to call into the cafés and shops. A number of local businesses along with some residents lobbied the Council and the decision was overturned and the racks removed. Where do these cycle parking racks now go? There are 8 available.
It is noticeable that cycling has massively increased and with the easing in lockdown and the better weather it is likely to grow further.
Cycles are already starting to be leant against walls and windows in the centre as cyclists like to park close to where they are visiting. Cyclists bring trade, as well as easing road space, reducing NHS costs and helping Climate Change aims so we should be encouraging it even more.
Hampshire County Council is currently stopping cyclists from using the Household Waste and Recycling Centres that they operate around the County.
At a time when Recycling and Climate Change are to the forefront of environmental issues, it just does not make sense.
Hampshire have failed to give any credible reasons for their discriminatory practice. One recent email claims that it is a ban presently in place because of social distancing issues, yet they have failed to explain why they believe drivers can social distance, but not those arriving by cycle.
The ban on dropping off unwanted items and waste for recycling …
… is anti-cycling and anti-active travel.
… is discriminatory against the 50% of the population who don’t own a car and against people who can’t fit a time slot.
… is against the declared HWRC policy to boost recycling and reduce fly-tipping.
… is against the declared HCC climate change policies.
… is financially unfair to those who do not drive and who are still paying Council Tax for this service, yet cannot use the facility.
But there is a glimmer of hope. Hampshire County Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Roy Humby, has said there will be a “full and proper trial … as soon as we are able to do so.”
That sounds suspiciously like kicking the issue into the long grass. It doesn’t need a trial, just some simple common sense.
Could Whitchurch have an inclusive cycling facility akin to the Wheels for Wellbeing charity scheme, now we have a potential location at Mill Springs?
These centres are popping up across the country to help those of all ages and abilities who wish to cycle safely, as well as help the less able enjoy exercise, the outdoors and meeting others.
Inclusivity, well-being, independence… As well as general support for anyone who wishes to cycle they provide a range of cycles of various types to help both those less able and those who are maybe returning to cycling and to help maintain independence, join in a social activity, improve health, address inequalities and have fun – and with the added benefit that all helps our climate change needs too.
Support for training Such a centre could provide a location for road safety training for young people, for learning to ride sessions and for confidence building to use our roads.
In addition there may be the opportunity to couple it with a small maintenance/training facility to help people fix their own bikes and learn simple bike care, or for young people to learn about cycle mechanics and repairs for future employment skills.
Mill Springs could be a suitable site with access to the new cycle path, close proximity to open areas for learning/confidence building, easy access to the Skatepark/BMX track and wider routes out into the local countryside.
Could this be for Whitchurch? Its just an idea at the moment, but one that could grow, Being central also to Basingstoke, Newbury, Andover and Winchester, it might even attract others to our town. Whitchurch could become a true centre for cycling, not just for inclusive cycling but also in attracting visitors to its shops, businesses and the wonderful countryside that surrounds the town. Anyone up for it as a local project?