Column: Green activist Laurel Spooner says cycling is clean, healthy, sociable, environmentally friendly and saves money. She thinks more people should turn to it to go from A to B
THIS column begins with a thank you to the Colchester Cycling Campaign.
His manifesto for cycling and walking, presented in conjunction with Walk Colchester, was accepted by all four major political parties, as the Gazette reported in early May.
This means that our new borough council is committed to implementing it.
There are plans to link pedestrian and cycling networks, secure dangerous intersections, clarify signage and limit speeds to 20 mph.
This is already a proven success in Brighton, for example, and many measures reflect what we have learned from the Dutch.
Nowadays we have such a range of pedal machines that there is no age limit.
The nineties are on e-trikes and parents take their babies and toddlers on cargo bikes.
Folding bikes have increased the possibilities for mixed transport, such as cycling to the station to catch the train or driving halfway to work and cycling the rest.
Electric bikes have increased autonomy and avoid a sweaty arrival.
They too come in a collapsible form.
A folding bike means you can take public transport if the weather changes but, remember, “there is no bad weather, just bad clothes”.
And now there are electric scooters for adults.
Colchester is testing a fleet, as well as the many flashy children’s scooters that even toddlers can use.
So more of us should leave the car at home.
Apparently, even for distances of one to two miles, over 60 percent of trips are made by motor vehicles, and about 80 percent of trips by car are less than five miles, to work, schools and to stores, for example.
Perhaps a better option than owning a car is to rent one.
If your annual mileage is around 7,000 miles or less, it is financially worthwhile.
With home deliveries so popular, owning a car just for shopping in the supermarket makes no sense.
The organizers of the Colchester Cycle Campaign have devoted years of hard work to advocating for a safer cycling network.
But cyclists also have a responsibility to ensure their safety and that of the pedestrians they encounter.
Everyone should consider taking advantage of the best safety gear, including significantly improved helmets, high visibility clothing, lights, bells, mirrors, and flags.
Helmets can even have webcams!
Cycling lessons and bike maintenance courses are available for all ages in Colchester. Just search online.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, a silver liner was a chance for families to cycle together on quiet roads. Let’s see this continue.
Colchester already has miles of safe cycle paths and an excellent cycle map available online.
The pedal power is clean, healthy, sociable, environmentally friendly and saves money.
It’s amazing how the very young feel older and the old feel younger when they ride a bike.
Essex County Council organizes velocity course for adults and children.
Re-Cycle, meanwhile, is a big charity here in Colchester.
She repairs and sends donated bikes to African countries.
It is also a good place to buy a used bike.
For more information, visit HERE.