Cllr John O’Reilly, who represents Hersham at Surrey and is also the chair of Surrey Elmbridge Local Committee, is known as a cyclist and is keen to make cycling safer in Elmbridge. To do so, would require a vision of what we would want to achieve over time and a strategy to get us there.
The Liberal Democrats in Elmbridge want to pursue the the aim of making cycling safer to reduce air pollution, congestion and to help people become healthier. Cycling also supports the local retail economy and makes our towns and villages stronger communities through the increase in serendipitous meetings.
Vision An Elmbridge of physically, mentally and spiritually healthy people of all ages enjoying fresh air and a high quality of life.
Mission To enable all the people of Elmbridge – who wish to do so – to cycle safely.
To achieve our mission our strategy is based on our being:
- Utilitarian. We focus on a person’s ability to cycle from home to the key places that make their life work: their school or workplace, their station, their town centre. Therefore routes to these places are dealt with first.
- Network based. We understand that the benefits are far greater if networks are created. It is little use to have a safe stretch that suddenly ends in a dangerous spot – like Blundel Lane Bridge
- Inclusive. We bring as many agencies, organisations and groups and people together to compound the benefits and spread the message.
- Incremental. Although we have a clear and ambitious vision we know that many small steps made by many people eases the journey
- Anticipatory. We take advantage of possible opportunities that might arise by anticipating requirements before they occur
- Communicative. We engage with everyone and keep them informed
- Sustainable. We strive to be socially and environmentally sustainable in everything that we do.
What would you like to see in a cycling strategy?
The Dutch and Danes developed a comprehensive approach over many decades. A good place to begin is to help secondary students below the age of seventeen to feel safe enough (along with their parents) to cycle to school. Yet on cycling out of Reeds School there is little evidence that cycling is a serious possibility. Everything else being equal student who cycle achieve more than those who are driven to school.
When we see most parents cycling with their children to primary school rather than driving – like the Dutch and Danes – then we will know we’d have cracked it. It is much quicker to cycle than walk – although walking can be fun too.