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Paper 4 - 27 September 2002 Meeting 

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

27 September 2002

TOWARDS A CYCLING STRATEGY

Report by the Chief Executive of Test Valley Borough Council and the Policy Manager

INTRODUCTION

1. The Chairman of the National Cycling Strategy Board, Steven Norris, wishes to discuss cycling strategy with local authority partners. The presentation at today’s meeting will be the first of a series of meetings with regional associations around the country. Steven Norris will be accompanied by Fred Offen from the Department for Transport.

MEMBER AUTHORITY CYCLING STRATEGIES

2. It is particularly appropriate to consider this subject in Hampshire at the moment because the County Council has carried out a major review of cycling strategy (Environmental Policy Review Committee, 4 September 2002). Other authorities have also carried out proactive work on cycling, in many cases in collaboration with each other.

THE WORK OF THE NATIONAL CYCLING STRATEGY BOARD

3. Steven Norris will explain the work of the Board in promoting cycling across the country. Of particular interest to Members at this stage is the proposal to audit local authority performance in supporting cycling. This work will start with five pilot projects at different scales from regional to district level. The five areas selected are the West Midlands, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham, Oxfordshire, Sheffield and Test Valley. The pilots will help to define the criteria which will then be used for the audit of cycling policy and practice in all local authorities.

THE CASE FOR CYCLING

4. Most western European countries are increasing the total length and percentage of journeys by bike, except in the UK where these figures are probably falling. Bicycle ownership in the UK is high but this does not convert into journeys. The Government has set a target in the National Cycling Strategy for quadrupling cycle use by 2012 from a baseline level in 1996.

5. Last year there were over 260,000 deaths in the U.K. from heart and heart-related diseases. Cycling, which is regarded by some as a dangerous activity, accounted for 160 deaths in the same period. The British Medical Association has stated that cycling 20 miles per week (2 miles each way, per day, in a five day working week) would reduce a person's propensity to heart disease by approximately 50% over the rest of the population. No drug has yet been devised which comes even close.

6. European experience shows that as cycling increases, road safety for cyclists and all road users goes up, not down, as might be feared.

7. Consider an example such as Andover. The whole population of the town lives within a 2 mile radius of the centre, and 75% of the jobs in the town are occupied by those who live there. It is not particularly hilly and has the road capacity to accept the introduction of cycle lanes. The biggest cause of death in the resident population is heart disease related to poor diet, smoking and lack of exercise.

8. European experience also shows that cyclists spend more in local shops, and as tourists, on accommodation and food/drink, than motorists. If shops can be encouraged to increase home deliveries, cycle-shopping could increase.

9. Furthermore, we can make a difference with modest investment. In providing cycle routes you get motorways for the price of footpaths.

ALAN JONES
Chief Executive, Test Valley Borough Council

NICK GOULDER
Policy Manager

Date: 9 September 2002
Annex: 0
Contact: Nick Goulder - 023 8068 8431, E-mail hiow@eastleigh.gov.uk

Last update: 17/09/2002
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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