Read our letter below:
Cycling has a great part to play in the transportation and economic future of Derby but it’s potential is being crippled by one thing:
People are too afraid to cycle on the road.
People want to cycle because they want to be more active, fit and healthy, because they want to save money which they can spend in the local economy instead of on petrol in their cars, because they are tired of sitting in traffic jams on the commute to work and are concerned about traffic pollution. But before they will get on a bike many people want a safer environment in which to cycle; they want Space 4 Cycling on our roads and elsewhere.
Derby City Council has failed to capitalise on the opportunities provided by being a Cycle Demonstration Town between 2005 and 2011, it has not created any significant growth in the length, quality or interconnection of it’s cycle network.
There is a lack of desire to create a better environment for cycling which is typified by the failure to put any cycle facilities on the new London Road Rail Bridge. This is a shameful design failing which runs contrary to Derby’s current Local Transport Plan (LTP3) which supports sustainable travel and boasts a “balanced approach” to transport planning. The new bridge only supports increased heavy goods traffic, which was barred from this road for many years; the type of traffic which is most feared by cyclists.
A lot of these failings are caused by a lack of leadership and aspiration to make cycling a transport priority of any standing at all. Our leaders have been happy for congestion to grow, strangling economic development; happy for health and fitness and active lifestyles to decline costing us dear in health spending and a poor quality of life for an ever increasing number of people. There are isolated examples of new cycle facilities, created by council heroes doing what they can with pitiful budgets, but they are too few and far between; a proper growth strategy is needed.
Derby Cycling Group would like to ask all Derby city councillors to watch the 2 minute video on this link, “Space 4 Cycling” . It shows what the national Space 4 Cycling campaign is all about. We would like you to decide to work proactively to improve conditions for cyclists in Derby and to pledge your support by signing up to the Space 4 Cycling campaign.
Providing Space 4 Cycling need not be expensive. To see how New York City did it, quickly and cheaply, in six years, with astonishing results watch this 14 minute presentation by New York transport commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Janette’s mantra is “do bold experiments that are cheap to try out.” If New York of all places can become a cycling city, Derby should have no problem at all.
In Derby a quick and cheap option is available on a huge number of our arterial routes into the city centre; space is available for on-road cycle lanes and even protected bike lanes and off-road cycle paths: Duffield Road, Alfreton Road, Mansfield Road, Nottingham Road, London Road, Osmaston Road, Burton Road, Uttoxeter Road and Kedleston Road to name but a few, with many other off-road routes also available for development. Lets try it, see the cyclist numbers grow, giving the justification to do more and better in the future.
Most other large cities and towns are taking a much more proactive approach to cycle transport development than Derby; London of course, Cambridge, Bristol, Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds and notably Nottingham and Leicester. We urge all city councillors to make sure Derby is not left behind; cycle infrastructure is important to companies looking for somewhere to locate because businesses know that a fit and healthy workforce takes fewer days sick and deliver them a better return on investment.
Derby Cycling Group will be following up this introduction on Space 4 Cycling with other communications and events over the coming months, please take an interest, get involved, ask us questions and come to meetings.
Politicians of Derby, over to you. People want to cycle. What are you going to do that is bold to empower people in your city to do it?
Derby Cycling Group,
Campaigning for cyclists in Derby