Introduce dedicated cycling lanes, and where that’s not possible, set 20mph speed limits

Introduce dedicated cycling lanes, and where that’s not possible, set 20mph speed limits

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Rev Dom Wright started this petition to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and

I’m Reverend Dom Wright, a vicar and avid cyclist. I recently undertook a charity ride to Damascus from my garden, during lockdown. I challenged the children of the parish to cycle more than me, collectively, which they did![1] This might not have been possible if it wasn’t for fewer cars and lower speeds on the roads.
 
Whilst the lockdown has been catastrophic for so many, one of the few glimmers of light has been the number of people cycling. With fewer cars on the road, parents felt safer letting their children cycle, and many bought bikes for themselves for the first time. The roads became a much nicer environment, not just for breathing and wildlife, but also for people interacting positively. People said “hello’ and exchanged smiles, something that is an incredible rarity in cars.
 
We saw an incredible increase in the number of cyclists, with almost 400% of the usual number of cyclists on the road at the peak.[2] That’s changing now though. The cars are heading back out onto the roads, with almost the same numbers as normal, but with significantly higher speeds.[3] That’s pushing cyclists off the road, with only around 50% more cyclists than normal using the roads.
 
So how do we keep this new impetus for cycling? Well there are clearly lots of pieces to the jigsaw, but the biggest one has just been solved; lots of people now have bikes and are using them! The next biggest obstacle is making it feel safe for cyclist, pedestrians, and motorists. At the moment we have roads where cars, bikes and walkers can often feel in competition, but it doesn’t need to be that way, if every user has space to travel safely. In countries where they have this, not only do people cycle more than 10 times as much as in the UK, they’re also 3 times safer doing so.[4]

It’s not just good for the environment, it’s also good for health and the economy too. Increased cycling could save the NHS £17 billion a year by reducing heart disease, diabetes, dementia and cancer.[5] Just think of the improvements to so many people’s quality of life.[6]
 
That’s all before you factor in savings to the taxpayer on bike infrastructure. Dedicated bike lanes pale in comparison in cost and maintenance compared with roads. They also reduce congestion on the roads in boost the local economy and property prices.[7]
 
There shouldn’t really be any debate about the merits of the argument, but just to spell out what we’re asking for:
-       Dedicated bike lanes – these keep everyone safe and help get more people out of their cars and onto their bikes. Over 80% of all bike accidents are caused by an at fault driver, which is a horrible experience for everyone concerned.[8] We also know that pedestrians are at much greater risk from cars than bikes, so increasing the number of people swapping the car for a bike keeps them safer too.[9] But we know that’s not possible on every road, so there will be residential or busy areas where another solution is necessary…
 
-       20 mph limits on roads without dedicated bike lanes – there is popular support for 20mph speed limits from cyclists, residents and motorists alike. 75% of residents in areas where 20mph limits have been introduced support them, and even two-thirds of those who aren’t residents, but are motorists.[10] It makes sense that residential roads are safe for all users, and especially for vulnerable users who might need longer to cross them. There isn’t any controversy over this, and it’s one of the cheapest interventions on the highway.
 
We’re asking Solihull Council to introduce these changes, at first on a temporary basis, whilst we’re experiencing disruption from coronavirus (and many people don’t feel safe using public transport), with a view to seeing how they work out long term.
 
We’re asking you to sign the petition to show support for cyclists, pedestrians, motorists, children, tax payers, the NHS and those that want to live somewhere with less noise and cleaner air. Thank you.


[1] https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/22-may/news/uk/vicar-rides-virtually-to-damascus-to-raise-money-for-common-fund
[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-use-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic
[3] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/police-speeding-tickets-lockdown-coronavirus-drivers-a9589821.html

[4] https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/transport/cycling-health-and-safety/analysis-of-international-trends-in-bicycle-use-and-cyclist-safety_9789282105955-4-en#page14

[5] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)60766-1/fulltext
[6] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)61714-1/fulltext
[7] https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/getting-around/info-2016/why-bicycling-infrastructure-is-good-for-people-who-dont-ride-bikes.html
[8] https://journalistsresource.org/studies/environment/transportation/comparing-fatality-risks-united-states-transportation-across-modes-time/
[9] https://fullfact.org/health/cyclist-deaths/
[10]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/757302/20mph-technical-report.pdf

 

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