Guest post by Julie Morgan
Julie Morgan is the Labour Party’s constituency candidate for Cardiff North.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.
Cycling in Cardiff – keeping two-wheeled transport on track
One of my aims, if re-elected, is to continue to promote cycling in Cardiff North as a way for people to make everyday journeys and to improve their overall fitness and sense of well-being.
As an Ambassador for the charity Sustrans, which promotes cheaper, healthier ways of travel, I was pleased to read the Bike Life report in October. It showed that the enthusiasm is there for cycling among city residents – and that there has already been a huge increase in the number of people cycling. The number of bike trips increased by 28% in Cardiff between 2013 and 2014.
If you have any doubt about how popular cycling already is in Cardiff you only have to get on your bike and ride along the Taff Trail, which runs right through Cardiff North of course, to see people of all ages and cycling abilities enjoying using it.
When I was in Tongwynlais on the weekend recently I noticed what a hub for cycling activity it is becoming – there were lots of cyclists who’d stopped off for refreshments. I think the arrival of the new cycle-friendly café Plan2Ride is excellent news and I hear the Bike Shed bike shop in Pontcanna is also opening a branch soon in Tongwynlais which just shows the increasing popularity of cycling in Cardiff North.
Let’s get young people cycling – to start good habits for life
Research published in the Bike Life report shows that people want more investment in safe cycling routes and that is something I will push for if re-elected on May 5.
My hope is that we can start with youngest members of our community to get them into good habits for life.
Currently only 4% of children cycle to school but more than a third of primary school age children and 12% of high school children say they’d like to cycle to school. Among adults and children, the top priority is safer routes (78% want more investment in this), so obviously there is more work to do. At the moment more men than women cycle but research has also shown more women would cycle if there were segregated cycle lanes, so pushing for these is key.
I’m proud of the world-leading Active Travel Act that the Welsh Government passed (it became law in 2013) which means local authorities must prioritise pedestrians and cyclists and sends a clear message to planners that two feet and two wheels should come first.
The impact of the Active Travel Act is already beginning to be felt but more safe cycle routes will open up as new schemes are built (see below). Cardiff Council’s Local Development Plan and cycling strategy will be key to this and if re-elected it’s something I want to push forward with and hold the planners to account on.
Cycling in Cardiff – did you know?
- 11.5 million trips by bike in a year
- 28% increase in bike trips between 2013-2014
- 71 miles of bike routes in Cardiff already including 38 miles of traffic-free routes
- 22% live within 125m of a designated cycle lane, track or shared-use path
- 28% of people say they don’t currently ride a bike but would like to
- £16m is the benefit to health in the city, from the current level of people riding bikes
- Read the Bike Life survey.
I think we could all do with the positive benefits to our mental health and well-being that cycling even short distances can bring. So roll-on the cycling revolution and, I hope, we’ll be able to realise plans for a truly cycle-friendly city to benefit us all.
Welsh Government’s investment in sustainable transport
In March the Welsh Government announced its latest investment of £29m in transport initiatives, many of them geared towards making cycling safer and more attractive.
In Cardiff the Local Transport Fund will see the following work carried out:
- £80,000 towards first stage of the A469 cycle route.
- £316,203 for next phase of the Eastern Corridor Active Travel Network. Walking and cycling access to jobs and services within the communities of Rumney, Llanrumney, Trowbridge and St Mellons.
- £554,000 for the next phase of walking and cycling access to jobs and services in the Western Corridor Active Travel Network.
- £895,000 for the next phase of the Newport Road / Fitzalan Place / West Grove junction improvements to improve safety, cycling and pedestrian access and bus journey times.
By Julie Morgan