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Bike Mad Guildford? Nearly A Quarter Of Us Cycle At Least Once a Month

Published on: 21 May, 2013
Updated on: 21 May, 2013
A full bike rack on Guildford High Street shows the increasing popularity of cycling in the borough.

A full bike rack on Guildford High Street shows the increasing popularity of cycling in the borough.

By Maria Rayner

If you think Guildford’s bike racks are fuller than usual, you could be right. 23% of residents ride their bike at least once a month, compared with a national average of 15%.

Figures for 2011/12 produced by the Department of Transport show Guildford to be joint second, together with Woking, just a percentage point behind Elmbridge.

Keith Chesterton who represents cyclists on the Transport for Guildford Steering Group said: “I’m pleased at the increase and hopeful that cycling will continue to grow until cyclists become obvious and numerous enough for all motor traffic to give them sufficient space on the roads.”

Surrey County Council is encouraging bike use and has helped provide bike parking at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. There is also funding available for lockers and showers to businesses and organisations through the Travel Smart initiatives.

John Furey, Surrey’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “We’re dedicated to encouraging more people to cycle by making it safer and easier to use a bike. As well as the health benefits, cycling can also help boost the economy by taking cars off the road and reducing the congestion and delays that cost businesses money.”

The Olympic and Tour of Britain cycle races that were routed through Surrey are also believed to have made cycling more popular.

Mr Chesterton thinks that once people are on their bikes they can see the other benefits. “They realise how practical it is, as well as healthy. It’s also sociable. On a bike, if you see someone you can just stop and chat, particularly useful if you are a councillor, as I was. In a car all you can do is beep on the horn and whizz past.”

He is also hopeful that the gyratory consultations will consider the needs of cyclists as well as motorists and described the current system as “incredibly hostile” for both cyclists and pedestrians.

There are several new routes planned around Guildford that will encourage those on two wheels, however, Mr Chesterton pointed out a number of gaps, in addition to the gyratory system. “North Street is not as friendly as it should be and the footbridge over the A25 and A3 needs to be replaced by a proper wide bridge for cyclists & walkers, but the Highways Agency doesn’t even have this on its long term plans.

” As cycling continues to grow, we need to see these gaps dealt with to release the full potential of cycling.”

The Local Sustainable Transport Fund has helped provide 13 new cycle routes across Guildford.

You can find out more about Surrey County Council’s Cycle Improvement Fund and the Travel Smart project by visiting www.surreycc.gov.uk/travelsmart.

What do you think? Is enough done for cyclists in Guildford or are they just a nuisance, using the roads for free and getting in the way of motorists? Have your say. Please use the ‘Leave a Reply’ feature below.

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test One Response to Bike Mad Guildford? Nearly A Quarter Of Us Cycle At Least Once a Month

  1. Andy Flanagan Reply

    September 12, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    It’s great to see that cycling rates are higher than average in Guildford. This is especially impressive given the council’s efforts to make cycling in the town centre a real logistical challenge.

    Not only are there no cycle lanes to be seen in the centre itself, the routes required to navigate anywhere close to the train station or the High Street mean dealing with the one-way system and four lanes of traffic at the gyratory.

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