Suffolk: Council told to improve safety measures for cyclists as number of cycling commuters plummet

The Office for National Statistics research also found a 19% drop in cycling commuters in Waveney and Mid Suffolk over the 10-year period, while it fell by 14% in Forest Heath, 6% in Suffolk Coastal, 4% in St Edmundsbury and 3% in Ipswich. The Office for National Statistics research also found a 19% drop in cycling commuters in Waveney and Mid Suffolk over the 10-year period, while it fell by 14% in Forest Heath, 6% in Suffolk Coastal, 4% in St Edmundsbury and 3% in Ipswich.

Friday, April 4, 2014
9:23 AM

Council chiefs last night faced demands to improve safety measures for cyclists after new research revealed a sharp decline in cycling commuters in Suffolk.

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Robert Lindsay, prospective Green Party parliamentary candidate for South Suffolk, said figures showing a 25% fall in people cycling to work between 2001 and 2011 in Babergh should act as a “wake-up call”.

The Office for National Statistics research also found a 19% drop in cycling commuters in Waveney and Mid Suffolk over the 10-year period, while it fell by 14% in Forest Heath, 6% in Suffolk Coastal, 4% in St Edmundsbury and 3% in Ipswich.

Until cycling is made safer, these figures will continue to fall while car dependency rises, leading to further traffic congestion, pollution and road accidents, Mr Lindsay argued.

Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s (SCC) cabinet member for roads and transport, accepted calls to improve the safety and popularity of cycling were justified, but said he will soon be unveiling a new policy aimed at addressing these concerns.

He also said the latest research found an increase in sport and recreational cycling in Suffolk following the London 2012 Olympics and a host of elite cycling events in the county.

It comes after the authority was snubbed last year in a bid to land £2.6million of Government funding to improve its cycling infrastructure. The Department for Transport awarded Norwich £3.7m and Cambridge £4.1m when handing out £160m.

Mr Lindsay said: “These figures should act as a wake-up call to our politicians, especially if they are concerned about our health and quality of life. SCC is in charge of our roads and after a long campaign by the Green Party it has partly lifted its ban on 20mph limits but has imposed so many restrictions – such as disallowing them on A and B roads – which most villages will still be unable to introduce safe speed limits.

“We need a proper policy to lessen car dependency, including investment in safer roads and better bus services, which would reduce obesity and improve people’s health and quality of life. SCC should set up a car dependency panel, including outside experts, to find solutions.”

Barry Denny, chairman of West Suffolk Wheelers, echoed his concerns, adding: “Our so-called cycling lanes are a complete joke. They have just painted the gutter a different colour. They are too skinny. The council needs to take cycle lanes more seriously, and not pay lip service to it.”

Mr Newman said the authority is “constantly exploring innovative ways” of improving cycling, adding: “I realise that in order to change behaviours we need to provide the infrastructure to allow this, making it easier and safer for those choosing the bike over the car.

“I agree there is a need for a policy and we are applying the finishing touches to a SCC cycling strategy which will fully link up public health, sport inclusion and green travel to create a combined force which will ultimately encourage safer, healthier and greener travel and increase participation.”

28 comments

  • If we are going to continue to promote and encourage people to cycle then we need some form of mandatory cycling scheme so that all these people we are getting on bikes actually know how to cycle on the roads without being a danger to themselves and others. The number of cyclists I see who obviously don't know how to corretly behave is rediculous. If you want to take a moped, motorobike, car or bigger on the roads you need a license. Whilst this may not be practicle for a pushbike something certainly needs to be done to prevent accidents and stop bikes holding up other traffic!

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    Chris Church

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Numerous reasons for the drop in cyclists, the weather, traffic volumes, the lack of ability to carry things on a cycle, etc. When will the tree huggers realise that we don't all want to arrive at work red-faced and sweaty. What we need are value-for-money viable alternatives to the car. Even factoring in the extortionate amount of money charged for car parking, it's still cheaper to use the car than the train for a day out, and the buses are slow, crowded and dirty. Who in their right mind wants to stand in the pouring rain for up to twenty minutes with bags of shopping while they wait for a bus to take them to somewhere near their home?

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    Sudders

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • As a daily cycling commuter: the sooner the police discourage cycling on paths, and the council stop painting meaningless shared pathways, the sooner the car driver will expect to have to allow more time for a journey owing to the number of bikes on the road. This will make life safer for the cyclist, and the paths safer for pedestrians, especially those that can't go anywhere without a hifi system strapped to their heads thereby making them totally unaware of their surroundings. All cyclists wearing headphones should receive an on the spot fine of at least £80.

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    Sarky Sage

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • The biggest problem is that so-called cycle facilities aren't designed with encouraging cycling in mind. They're mostly put in as an afterthought, because the Government demands that the tick a box for it on any road scheme. You only have to look at the bonkers cycle lane running east along Commercial Road (Ipswich) which has you jumping on and of the pavement several times and weaving all over the place. Then there are all the cycle lanes that are just too narrow, or stop suddenly for no obvious reason. And they all suffer from having their surfaces maintained even worse than the rest of the road or being covered in all the debris swept off the rest of the road by passing cars. No wonder people like me rarely use cycle lanes...

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    beerlover

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Oooh some cyclists getting a little upset. The fact is people are votting with their bumd. We 1. Dont want to arrive hot and sweaty like are cycling colleagues, then say I am at work and go and spend 20mins getting shoeered. 2. We dont want to wait 20mins for a bus in the cold, heat or rain that may or may not turn up, then sit on a seat so small you are sitting on someones lap, either cold or boiling hot because buses seem to not have air conditioning. Making a 20min journey by car in to an hour slog to work. So here is an idea. Take out the trafic lights, stupid pedestrian crossings with 3 in a hundred yard line, remove the bike and bus lanes that create queues and provide what people want a mode of transport 3 paces from you front door, that takes you in warm, dry, airconditioned comfort virtualy to your door at work ready to face the day, lovely and relaxed in work cloths. But hey can not have democracy where cyclists or yhe green lobby is involved only dik taks from people who think they know best because their nice people who cyvle ! What sanctimoniouse bunch of loosers. Let democracy rule, oh sorry your a cyclist and dont believe in that.

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    The Ginge

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • @David S - people don't have a divine right to cycle ion the pavement over Stoke Bridge. They have a legal right - it's part of the National Cycle Network. It wouldn't hurt for everyone to be a bit more considerate. I cycle in on route 51 everyday along a shared use route where pedestrians routinely walk 4 abreast blocking the whole path, and then look affronted and frequently get abusive when I expect them to make way.

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    GillGamesh

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • I am thoroughly cheesed off with cyclists in the town centre.I walk through Carr Street, Tavern St and Westgate St everday and I am fed up having to get out of the way of speeding cyclists in a pedestrian area.I have seen two nasty accidents and countless near misses over the last few years. It is scandalous that the relevant enforcement authority ignores this situation completely and at some stage someone is going to seriously hurt by these chavs and druggies. I think that anyone getting hurt will have a good case for negligence against whoever is not enforcing the law. I never have this problem when shopping in Norwich or Bury. Another big plus point for them!

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    Billy Knowbend

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Never mind the safety of cyclists what about the pedistrians they plough through whilst riding on the pavements thinking they have the divine rite to cycle on them. Stoke Bridge is a good example where the cyclists disregard the pedestrians causing distress especially to those with young children & buggies. Back in the day, if you got caught riding a bike on the pavement you would get a clip round the ear from a nice policeman.

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    David S

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • @Supanova - probably because there are much higher priorities. The number of pedestrians injured by cyclists using the footway (even those that are not shared use) are next to nothing. Most footways that have an order to allow use by cycles are wide enough to serve both users. Of course, most cyclists tend to still use the carriageway - which in my opinion is the best option for me, but has nothing to do with safety.

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    ipswichLAD

    Monday, April 7, 2014

  • I've been walking into work (Ipswich Town Centre) rather than driving and I prefer it so much compared to sitting in traffic queues! . I'm saving £88 a month on parking and petrol costs. I'll burn approx. 1,685 calories a week, it only takes me an extra 10 mins compared to driving and I arrive at work calm clear headed, happy and stress free!

    Report this comment

    A Palmer

    Monday, April 7, 2014

  • David S: You do realise the path on Stoke Bridge is a shared cycle lane, right? Did you miss the signposts, and the massive cycles painted on the ground? Meanwhile, some thought by the planning department would be appreciated. A contra-flow cycle lane has recently been added to Silent Street, which leads directly into the parking bays. So the cyclist must then head straight on into the traffic if they are to avoid scattering pedestrians on the pavement. Genius.

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    Boy Disappearing

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Highway Code is not Law ! No Council is going to spend much on a few cyclists . They'll spend hundreds of thousands on two bus stations which are hardly any better than they were !

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • TheGinge - I was like you. But after being encouraged to cycle by work colleagues as well as measures recently implemented in the town, I have started it up. It now takes me 20 minutes to cycle from Nacton Road to Whitehouse - instead of 35 mins by car. Thus the time spent showering and getting changed is saved in the journey itself. People will change to cycle more as they come to realise the use of cars for in-town journeys are not sustainable. The more money spent on encouraging people to cycle, the better.

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    ipswichLAD

    Monday, April 7, 2014

  • Most people simply do not want to commute by cycle. It is not practicable and our weather is against it for most of the years. The fall in numbers is pretty much the same across the UK Far more sensible would be to invest in proper bus and rail services to provide an alternative to the car together with a network of limited stop longer distance bus services linking the major Suffolk towns . At present the only viable transport for work is the car. There is no real alternative

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    BobE

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Perhaps people prefer to use public transport, their car or walk, instead of bike?

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • If everyone on a bike got in a car instead, the roads would be even more congested. In order to get people out of their cars and on to alternative modes of transport, those alternatives have to exist, be affordable and practical. Painting a few lines on thre roads isn't going to encourage more people to get off their backsides and cycle to work [or anywhere else].

    Report this comment

    Alice

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • There's an expensive, purpose-built cycle route between Moreton Hall in Bury St Edmunds and Thurston. It's regularly ignored by cyclists who prefer to dice with death on a busy, windy country road. And people wonder why there's something called the Darwin Award.....

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    James Lakin

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • I am fully aware that some clodpole decided that Stoke Bridge should be a shared way, but the Highway Code states: " Cyclists and pedestrians my be segregated or they may share the same space (unsegregated). When using segregated tracks you MUST keep to the side intended for cyclists. Take care when passing pedistrians, especially children, elderly or disabled people, and allow them plenty of room. Always be prepared to slow down and stop if necessary". Law HA 1835 sect 72. If only the cyclists who use Stoke Bridge complied with the law.

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    David S

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • There is another `plummet` that seems to escape the councils notice....the health and safety confidence of pedestrians going about their lawful business on the pavements! Why won`t the police enforce the Highways Act regarding dangerous oafs who cycle on the path?

    Report this comment

    Supernova6

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • The provision of cycle lanes in West Suffolk is an issue I raised with Suffolk County Council two years ago. We have had no action since. The one new cycle path (not a cycle lane as cycle lanes are segregated) is badly executed and almost unusable as it is a shared path on the busiest footpath in Sudbury, completely contravening DfT advice. That path had no funding from any council merely section 106 funds from Sainsburys. Sudbury in particular has parking problems facing drivers and residents alike. If some actual SCC budget was used to provide SAFE cycle routes so commutes of less than just 3 miles could be done by bicycle and that encouraged some drivers to leave their car at home and cycle to work, the parking problems would be eased, the traffic congestion reduced, road traffic pollution reduced and these drivers turned cyclists fitter and less likely to use the NHS saving the taxpayer money. Even though Sudbury Town Council is investigating cycle routes in Sudbury no action has occurred as yet and no funds obtained or forthcoming. We need leadership and actual action from SCC and Babergh to make this happen, not talk and prevarication. Cycling in Sudbury Town Centre is no fun for a cyclist and frustrating for drivers. If every driver realised that a cycle trip alternatively made in a car ultimately causes more traffic congestion and more pressure on parking, maybe they would change their opinion. Most drivers are considerate to cyclists, but too many cut up cyclists illegally and even abuse cyclists occasionally, the police of course do nothing as they never see this. Until some infrastructure is in place some drivers need educating. New cyclists also often don't know the rules, but with no Adult cycle training available in West Suffolk the rules of the road for most cyclists are an issue for which there is no solution. Education is needed for drivers and cyclists alike, again we have inaction from SCC on this. It needs vision, a culture change and above all funds to achieve this. A new cycling strategy from SCC is welcome but unless backed by funds and action it is of no use at all.

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    Tim Regester

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • To the car drivers: I can tell you that in fact most days of the year are actually dry at rush hour times so that is a rubbish excuse for sitting on your bums, going nowhere, polluting the atmosphere. To the council: Cycle lanes on the road are actually dangerous to the cyclist as they encourage traffic to bunch up in the middle of the road thereby making it far more dangerous for the cyclist making right hand turns. Most drivers will park over a cycle lane anyway. What is needed are more bikes on the road so they become commonplace and drivers will just have to lump it.

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    Sarky Sage

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • @A Bell - Why should he need lights or high-vis? it's clear daylight. And as for wearing a helmet, there's plenty of evidence that they don't provide anything like the safety boost claimed for them (mainly by manufacturers making fortunes from selling them). - in fact, wearing a helmet can actually make cycling MORE dangerous; it's been shown in research that motorists drive even closer to cyclists who have helmets than they do to those without.

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    beerlover

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • There already appears to be an anti carpro cycling policy going on with many cycle lanes and new traffic lights giving priority to cyclist. Yet many of these schemes actually make it worse for both car and cyclist and thus the call for better cycling infrastructure. WELL we can not continue do this to the detriment of car drivers we are a rural community and for many a car is essential, so any new schemes need to be properly planned and then monitors to ensure they do work and if they don’t change them.

    Report this comment

    A Smith

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists ALL have a responsibility to observe the highway code. Most of the cycle lanes seem to have been put in place as an afterthought and to use up some white paint left over from another job. There used to be a lane at the town end of Wherstead Road that was all of 30 yards long. Why?? When building new developments cycle lanes seem to be built as a matter of course, like Grange Farm, for example. If cycle lanes are to be built in busy areas like the town centre then people and organisations that know about cycling and traffic should be consulted. Personally, I like to get away from traffic when cycling and cycle lanes that fulfil this aim should be promoted; lots of cyclists can be hazardous and stressful for motorists to cope with. Finally, the best protection a cyclist can invest in is a decent pair of gloves; when humans fall, we instinctively put out our arms with the result that our hands can take a battering and end up rather messy and painful as well. An interesting collection of posts, with contributors being respectful towards one another, and on a topic that can result in people getting hot under the collar! Let's hope this trend continues.

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    BigGeoff

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • I live just outside South West Ipswich and, unfortunately, work in Ipswich. I used to cycle regularly but I don't any more. The traffic lights, and all the queues they cause, make it a lot more dangerous, traffic just doesn't flow. Also, a lot of the cycle lanes are just a joke. Often they go against the flow of motorised traffic. Also, another downside from the traffic lights is the fumes from the queueing vehicles, especially the buses and commercial vehicles. I am being poisoned as I sit in the queue near them. Therefore, I do not cycle into Ipswich at all now, either for work or leisure. Finally, I have no confidence this will be fixed if Newman is in charge, he caused all the problems in the first place.

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    Esco Fiasco

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Ginge the only one getting upset is your goodself, and I take it you are a motorist. the fact is if everyone took their personal air conditioned transporter to work, your journey would take far longer than 20mins. So you should actually not only be thanking users of public transport and cyclists for making your journey easy, you should actually be encouraging far more people to take it up because then it would make your journey even easier. one more cyclist is one less car sitting in front of you, think about that next time your stuck in traffic.

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    beerbaron

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • Great picture to advertise cycling. No helmet, no high vis clothes and no lights. I also disagree with making the pavements cycle lanes. It is not that hard to cycle on the road. Cycling on the pavement is dangerous for pedestrians even if it is marked for cyclists. Going 20-30mph expecting children, mums with buggies and the elderly to dive out of the way is wrong. I am a cyclist myself, I cycle to work and have no issues cycling in the road. There is the odd motorist not paying as much attention as they should but the majority are pretty good. We must educate cyclists, if you wear the correct clothes and equipment it is safe, even in the rain. Far too many wear all black with no lights or helmet, jump between road and pavement and ignore traffic lights.

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    A Bell

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • No concern for pedestrian safety, I notice. Any adult caught cycling on a pavement should be heavily fined and made to complete a cycling proficiency programme. The trouble is that today`s younger generation of cyclists are so risk averse and terrified of the road it`s a wonder they don`t all need stabilisers. Yet OAP`s manage to cycle on the roads quite safely and contentedly.

    Report this comment

    Supernova6

    Friday, April 4, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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