To receive a presentation from the Bicycle Mayor for Cumbria, Mr Richard Ingham
Mr Richard Ingham, the Elected Bicycle Mayor for Cumbria, gave a presentation on ‘Bicycle Mayor of Cumbria – an ambition to change the way people of Cumbria travel’. Mr Ingham outlined the history behind his appointment as Cumbria’s Elected Bicycle Mayor and talked about the importance of health and wellbeing, how the Elected Bicycle Mayor was a global initiative, the promotion of cycling as a mode of transport to be a catalyst for change, his support from all six MPs in Cumbria for the scheme, the election process and his remit. He reported on how he made his journey from Carlisle to Kendal to get to the meeting.
The presentation covered the following:
· Healthy Transport = Healthy Lives
· Emissions data for Oxford
· How to get the most from Kendal X cycle infrastructure
· Kendal X Cycle Plan
· Moving the Nation – a joint report
· Getting the best from Shap Road Cycleway
· Actions needed to achieve best value
Members welcomed the presentation and made a number of comments on cycling in general and provided specific examples of their experiences with cyclists in their divisions. Members commented on their support for sustainable public transport and the Healthy Ways to School initiative.
One member commented on a local issue where cyclists belonging to a social media page aimed to attain the fastest speed through a local village and wore dark clothes so they were therefore difficult to see. He commented on their use of bad language and asked Mr Ingham, as their representative, to encourage cyclists to have more considerate behaviour. Another member commented on similar cyclist behaviour but acknowledged it was not all cyclists. He referred to locked bicycle storage facilities at a car park in Kendal.
Another member commented on the lack of provision for bicycles on and the difficulty of booking space on trains. He asked Mr Ingham to lobby train companies to improve this situation. Mr Ingham stated that he would be addressing this and reported that in other countries, park and ride schemes were successful with bicycles available at train destinations.
A member expressed her opposition to the Shap Road Cycleway, detailing her objections. She commented on the inadequate width of the cycleway, it wasn’t designed to a high standard and part of the route was very dangerous which could leave the County Council open to claims if someone was hurt. She did however, support safe routes.
In reporting on injuries sustained by a resident following a collision with a cyclist in his division a member asked Mr Ingham to ensure a full programme of education was available and that he lobbied for cycle ways which were fit for purpose.
One member considered that setting clear priorities was essential for the future to ensure people were more active and improved their mental health. The member emphasised the need for all schools to have a robust Travel Plan.
In response to members’ points, Mr Ingham commented that bad behaviour was a snapshot of small numbers of cyclists and encouraged members to see the wider picture as there was a low number of cyclist/pedestrian accidents compared to high numbers of vehicle/pedestrian accidents. In terms of Shap Road Cycleway, Mr Ingham could not comment as it was not in situ but did advise that cycle routes were being designed using 1980s’ guidance which was not fit for purpose, however this was being updated using best practice from other countries. Mr Ingham talked about his ambition for all secondary schools to be connected by a safe cycle network and on the behaviour change needed to encourage cycling as an option for short journeys.
In closing, Mr Ingham reported that to get a mass switch from vehicle to bicycle use, routes fit for purpose were needed and if increased plans were made for vehicle use, it would encourage further use. What was needed was a sustainable and balanced approach to travel.
Mr Ingham offered to escort members on a local bicycle tour.
The Chair thanked Mr Ingham for his presentation.