Cycling networks

This article was published in 2016, in Newsletter 128.

It has been over two years since Cycling UK first launched the national Space for Cycling campaign, with the ambitious aim of transforming Britain’s roads to create the conditions where anyone can cycle anywhere.

We believe cycle-friendly streets benefit everyone, not just cyclists, by creating better, safer and more attractive places to live. Places for people, not vehicles. Places, above all else, to enjoy. The health, environmental and economic benefits of cycling and cycle-friendly towns are far-reaching and well researched.

CyclingUK’s Space for Cycling campaign is going on tour – first stop, Cambridge!
Join us on 22 October 2016 at Ross Street Community Centre. We will be covering a wide range of topics, from setting up a campaign group to planning and costing a cycle network. To get involved please register your interest on the Cycling UK website

Founded in 1878, Cycling UK has championed the cause of cycling for over a century. From winning cyclists the right to use roads back in 1888, they continue to campaign to make cycling a safe, enjoyable and normal way of getting around. Until recently known as the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC), the name was changed better to reflect the inclusive focus of activities at Cycling UK, with the aim of helping more people of any age, background and ability discover the joys of cycling.

Since its launch, the Space for Cycling campaign has attracted the support of over 700 city and county councillors across 192 local authorities. Recent elections mean that currently we have the support of just under 600 councillors. We want to re-build this political support but also expand on our previous aims. Lessons from our European counterparts emphasise the importance of planning a comprehensive cycle network, getting it costed and agreed to, and perhaps most importantly built to up-to-date, high quality design standards.

Although led by Cycling UK, the campaign is reliant on the implementation and input of local campaign groups. Indeed Camcycle is one of the most active groups in the country, tirelessly campaigning for better Space for Cycling in and around the city.

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It is no coincidence then, that Cambridge is proudly known as ‘The City of Cycling’. With 1 in 5 journeys in the city made by bike, Cambridge has the highest level of cycling in the UK, supported by the city’s historic culture of cycling and the local political will. It is certainly true that these two factors play a massive role. Cambridge has a history of politicians who actively campaign for cycling at government level – Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner is the Labour Party spokesman for cycling, whilst his predecessor Julian Huppert was co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.

Indeed, it was researchers at Cambridge University who found that improving cycle infrastructure is the single most effective way of increasing cycle use. As such, it only seems appropriate to kick-off our Space for Cycling Road Show in Cambridge, on Saturday 22 October.

The road show aims to engage with local campaign groups and councils and galvanise new support for the campaign. We will look at how to start a new campaign group and run training sessions in planning and costing a network. We will explore the various online tools to assist your campaign, such as the Propensity to Cycle Tool, Cyclescape and the Cycle Environment Assessment Tool.

We will also discuss how to develop a media strategy, how to respond to planning applications and consultations. We want to offer everyone the opportunity to feed into the development of the campaign as, although this campaign is led by Cycling UK, collaboration is key.

All these workshops will be delivered either by Cycling UK staff members or some of the many experienced and extremely knowledgeable local campaigners, who will also be able to shed some light on the local context.

If this sounds appealing to you, please register your interest and come along! In the meantime see the Cycling UK website to see how you can call on your councillors to pledge support for Space for Cycling. Or contact Camcycle and get stuck into some campaigning!

The success of Space for Cycling rests on local public and political support – please join us if you want to see your community improved for the benefit of all!

Tom Guha and Rachel Clark