Saturday, 1 September 2012

Will Dani King Save Lib Dems' Cycle Strategy?

Announcing the Dani King cycleway to honour the Hamble cyclist's Olympic gold medal, Hedge End Town and Borough Councillor (and Hamble County Councillor) Keith House claimed “The Council is committed to investing in opportunities for all its residents to enjoy sport and active lifestyles, at a time when many other councils are cutting back and I hope that as many people as possible will be inspired to use the new Dani King Cycleway.”

The cycleway (which will run for 3.5km along Hamble Lane) is an appropriate and imaginative way to mark King's achievement and might give the Lib Dems' cycling strategy a much-needed boost.  

Eastleigh has had a strategy (on paper at least) to encourage cycling in the Borough since 1990, but according to a recently published Department of Transport survey, the Lib Dems have failed spectacularly to encourage cycling in the Borough. 

Along with the Isle of Wight, Eastleigh is bottom of the league table of Hampshire councils for encouraging cycling, with only 13% of residents claiming to get on their bikes at least once a month, and only 2% cycling regularly at five times a week.

Local Authority1 x per month1 x per week3 x per week5 x per week
New Forest241574
Hart 24 14 7 7
Test Valley 22 13 5 3
Havant 21 13 9 6
Winchester 21 13 5 3
Portsmouth 20 14 8 5
Rushmoor 19 14 8 4
Basingstoke and Deane 18 13 7 4
Fareham 18 10 4 3
East Hampshire 16 9 3 2
Southampton 14 10 4 3
Isle of Wight 13 8 3 2
Eastleigh 13 8 3 2

Eastleigh has 44km of cycle routes, many of them in Hedge End, but people don't seem to want to use them.  Perhaps they have been built where they are easy to build, not where they would be really useful to people wanting to cycle as part of their day to day lives or where they would make cycling genuinely safer.

Perhaps it would help if the Council got on with the long-awaited Hedge End to Botley cycleway.