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.



  1. What a waste of space.

    I think the borough council should honour Dani with the freedom of the borough.

  2. Great to see the council acting on my suggestion :)

  3. How dare Eastleigh BC use the tagline "tackling climate change" when it is failing cyclists (and those that would cycle if the infrastructure was of good quality)? They could prevent much more CO2 emissions by creating a decent cycle network than by some vanity CHP or solar project on their own offices.

    There are some good paths in the borough: part of the route to Toynbee School from its catchment area in Valley Park has great paths. A corner of Valley Park is in EBC and it has some decent routes (but no pavements for pedestrians who have to share). The newer parts of Hedge End have paths too but they are shared with pedestrians and just meander all over the place--they're seemingly designed for leisure, not transport. Easleigh BC is failing to provide decent railway and motorway crossings for cyclists, they often have to dismount and/or carry bike up steps (try this with child in childseat and second child on own bike) or play with traffic on busy motor bridges.

    I would recommend reading this blog post by Downfader about the Dani King cycleway:

    Compare the new Hockley route into Winchester against the Dani King cycleway. You'll see a difference in quality and amenity. Then take a trip to Holland and look at the infrastructure there, or see blogs like David Hembrow's: You'll understand that Dani King should very well be embarrassed by her association with Eastleigh BC.

    Many are fighting for better for the UK: decent cycle infrastructure is not expensive when compared against other transport investment. In fact I was reading that every pound spent well on cycle infrastructure saves the NHS more than £2 through improved health. So in net terms, it's cheaper than free. But many politicians seem afraid of anything that might impede drivers in the slightest. But cyclists and people who care about fitness and the safety of their families vote too!