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Pushing Pedals: Ring In The New Year With A Change In Gear!

Published on: 15 Jan, 2022
Updated on: 15 Jan, 2022

This is the monthly column on local cycling by the Guildford Bicycle User Group (G-BUG). Its vision is to make cycling in Guildford safer, more convenient and fun. Members share a passion for making the borough more accessible through increased cycling.

By Bridie Sullivan

Another year is behind us and the future of the pandemic is looking like the new norm, but the cycling community has a lot to celebrate.

Photo by Ross Sneddon, courtesy Unsplash

Although there are still worldwide shortages across supply chains, we are cycling a lot more in the UK. Over the last couple of years, cycling for leisure, exercise and commuting has been the subject of many studies, all designed to see how and why our behaviour has changed.

A study​ led by the University of Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit​ found if 10 per cent of the population​ changed​ their travel behaviour, the​ emissions savings would be​ around 4 per cent of life cycle CO2​ emissions from all car travel.

Photo by Simon Abrams, courtesy Unsplash

But infrastructure and means are not all that’s needed to make long term behavioural changes. Our commuting habits are also important, especially in the race against climate change.

Photo by Artur Tumasjan, courtesy Unsplash

Many large companies are encouraging people to work from home. And with many also committing to net zero, a commute of two or three days a week will have an impact on their emissions.

Four per cent of the NHS’ total CO2 emissions come from commuters. Some NHS areas are using technology to track the progress of initiatives aimed to cut car use. NHS Lanarkshire, for example, has used the data to provide personalised travel plans and proved the business case for investing in more cycle parking and infrastructure to meet their net-zero goals.

A recent study by the University of Surrey found that traffic speeds under 20mph encouraged more of us to cycle our commute.

Research examined 35,000 routes across Surrey for 172,000 commuters who lived between 2-5 kilometres from their workplace. It showed unsurprisingly the barriers to cycling were predominantly vehicle speed plus a lack of cycle paths, crossing busy roads with fast-moving and a high volume of vehicles, distance and hilliness.

This study is expected to help Surrey County Council identify where best to prioritise interventions, such as the separation of cyclists and cars in existing infrastructure.

Image by Matthe Ball, courtesy Unsplash.

There is another factor of twenty that is also making headlines in the cycling community. The 20-minute neighbourhood is one where most of our daily needs are within a 20-minute walk from home.

Aligning the existing infrastructure of an area with transport planning for the future makes it easier for residents of new developments to walk, cycle and use public transport. One to note for future local planning meetings.

Or, to celebrate the new year, we could follow the example of some Scottish campaigners who pledged just 20 minutes of their time last summer, to help clean 600 miles of the National Cycle Network across Scotland.

Safe Cycling


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Responses to Pushing Pedals: Ring In The New Year With A Change In Gear!

  1. Sue Reeve Reply

    January 17, 2022 at 7:33 am

    As a keen cyclist I think one of the most important factors is vehicle driver education. The effort drivers go to to get past cyclists, regardless of safely is amazing.

    Better still, the UK should follow what is done in European countries where, in the case of an accident between a motorist and a cyclist, there is a presumption that the vehicle driver is at fault: the driver has to prove otherwise.

    I was very clearly signalling to turn right on Friday, approaching traffic lights in Send and three cars overtook me in order to get through the lights. Appalling driving.

  2. Sue Reeve Reply

    January 18, 2022 at 7:43 am

    There’s are new highway code rules coming into effect in from January 29th and below is a good summary. The difficulty is that not everyone will know about them.

  3. Calum Shaw Reply

    February 8, 2022 at 8:54 am

    If the new Surrey County Council Local Transport Plan (LTP4) comes into being this month, then we should see a step-change in attitude to active travel and most importantly, design of our infrastructure. See the proposal
    or a summary

    Readers wishing to know more can sign up to G-BUG at or search G-BUG on Facebook to get involved in the discussion.

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