Charity calls on new Cambridgeshire mayor to invest in cycling and reduce speed limits to 20mph

Bicycles in Peterborough city centre. Photo: Peterborough Telegraph

Bicycles in Peterborough city centre. Photo: Peterborough Telegraph

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Sustrans, a national charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport, has set out its priorities for the incoming Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor.

The charity has asked each of the candidates to include these in their manifesto ahead of the election in May.

The combined authority area of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is one of the fastest growing areas in the UK. Evidence, says Sustrans, that the mayor needs to embrace active travel if traffic congestion is to be avoided in the future.

Sustrans wants the mayor to ensure that the area continues to outperform the nation in cycling levels. To achieve this, it would like to see the mayor invest £20 per head on cycling infrastructure across the area. It also wants the mayor to create safer spaces for cyclists and pedestrians by reducing the default speed limit across all urban areas to 20mph.

Although cycling levels in the area outperform the national average, Sustrans believes that even better results are possible.

Out of 326 local authority areas Cambridge is rated 1st, South Cambridgeshire 6th and Peterborough 15th in terms of residents who cycle at least once a month.

However, South Cambridgeshire is rated only 13th when it comes to cycling five times per week – Peterborough drops to 38th.

Safety is the key to changing attitudes to cycling according to the national charity.

In 2012 it found that 56 per cent of people felt that cycling on roads in built up areas was not safe. Furthermore, a survey conducted by Transport for London in 2014 found that safety was the main barrier to cycling for eight out of 10 people.

Commenting on the submission, Sustrans head of partnerships Matt Barber said: “When it comes to cycling, we’re streets ahead in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire.

“However, with an expanding population we need to embrace active travel even more. The key to this is to invest more in cycling infrastructure and make cycling safer.

“This can be done by designing innovative infrastructure and reducing the speed limit in urban areas. Making active travel safer and more accessible must be a priority for the new mayor so that people can choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys.”

Manifesto

. Continue to lead the way - Sustrans Bike Life reports (from seven cities across the UK) highlight that three quarters of people support more investment in cycling - £26/person a year is the average amount people want governments to be investing.

Other Combined Authority Mayoral candidates are promising to invest in cycling e.g. Andy Burnham has pledged £17 per head in Greater Manchester.

If the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Area is to continue to have the highest levels of cycling in the UK the mayor must commit to continuing to lead the way nationally, by investing £20 per head on cycling infrastructure.

. Ensure ‘Best Practice’ design – A Sustrans study in 2012 stated that 56 per cent of people felt cycling on roads in built-up areas was not safe. A Transport for London report in 2014 showed that 80 per cent of respondents felt safety was the main barrier to them cycling more.

The mayor must guarantee that all cycling infrastructure across the Combined Authority Area provides a safe, coherent, direct and continuous route to help enable more local trips to be made by bicycle.

Within the Combined Authority Area there are some examples of ‘Best Practice’ design, such as the schemes at Hills Road and Arbury Road in Cambridge, and the new link to the Babraham Research Campus.

The mayor must insist that these schemes set the benchmark for cycling infrastructure across the entire Combined Authority Area.

. Create safe places for people – traffic speed, traffic volume and the physical quality of a street can have a real impact on people’s sense of community and what activities the street can support.

The mayor must reduce road danger and design places collaboratively with local communities to create streets that are conducive to physical activity; safer for children to play on; and more sociable and attractive places to live.

The mayor should set 20mph as the default speed limit across all urban areas of the Combined Authority Area.