I recently met with the Truro Cycle Campaign group to discuss the importance of the new St Agnes to Truro cycle route. I am very supportive of the group’s desire to see a bridge for cyclists constructed over the proposed new road junction at Chiverton Cross. We also discussed the huge benefits of enhancing and developing new cycle routes around Truro, enabling more and safe commuting and family recreational activity. The health and wellbeing as well as environmental benefits of cycling are well known. The forthcoming updating of the Truro and Kenwyn Neighbourhood Plan is a good opportunity for everyone interested to get involved in developing new walking and cycle routes.
Cornwall Council and partners have a range of funding opportunities to implement improvements, including funding related to the new A30.
In recent weeks the government has announced a wide range of measures designed to protect more vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. These include new measures to combat close passing, training for driving instructors, better collision investigation and £100 million in new investment through the Safer Roads Fund.
The government is also consulting on new cycling offences, further work on national guidance on cycling and walking infrastructure, and improvements to the Highway Code.
All these measures are designed to support the continued growth of cycling and walking, with all the benefits they bring to our communities, economy, environment and society.
In 2016, three pedestrians were killed and 108 seriously injured after being involved in collisions with pedal cyclists. The laws that are currently being used to prosecute cycling offences are ancient and that is why the government has launched a public consultation about proposed changes to the law.
As part of the Cycling and Walking Safety Review, the government has commissioned the Cycle Proofing Working Group to develop national guidance and best practice for cycling and walking infrastructure, so that all road users can benefit from the best facilities. The government has also announced £1 million will be provided to support the pathfinder demonstration projects for repairing and upgrading sections of the National Cycle Network (NCN).
Separately, the Department for Transport has also announced that it is gathering evidence on the effectiveness of current laws on pavement parking to address safety issues concerning cyclists, pedestrians, and disabled people using mobility scooters who have all raised their concerns with me about this practise.
In June, the DfT announced plans for a £500,000 pilot scheme offering driving instructors bespoke training to ensure cyclists’ safety is at the forefront of their minds when they teach new drivers.
Earlier this year, the department also awarded more than £7 million of funding as part of the first response to the Cycle and Walking Safety Review to fund improvements and new schemes promoting safe walking and cycling.
So there is a lot going on and I urge as many local people as possible to join these important consultations so that we can all be safer as we use local roads and cycle paths.
First published in the West Briton 16/08/18