John Knight's January 2019 Talking Politics column for Macclesfield Express.

11 January 2019

For many people. cycling is a great way to get about.  Like walking, it helps keep us fit, while doing little or no harm to the environment.  Over a third of Macclesfield people tell us they cycle; but less than 8% - one in thirteen - cycle regularly.

Why is this?  The same answer keeps coming up - people are afraid for their safety.  On most routes in and around Macclesfield, cyclists have to share dangerous, potholed roads with cars & lorries.  Instead of a healthy, enjoyable activity, cycling can feel like you are risking life and limb, as well as damage to your bicycle.  There are only two traffic-free cycling routes out of town, the Middlewood Way and the canal - and the towpath is in a poor state in places.

As a start, how about upgrading the path through the Riverside Park, to provide a pleasant off-road cycle route to Prestbury?

According to Cycling UK, government statistics show that 60% of adults admit they feel it’s too dangerous to cycle on the road, and in particular women and older people are put off cycling by those fears.  Although cycling is statistically much safer than many people think, it’s clear the Government has to address the key issues of infrastructure, such as improving roads and cycle lanes, and making sure our traffic laws operate effectively to promote road safety for everyone.

The benefits of cycling are well documented, improving people’s health and wellbeing, reducing traffic congestion and helping to tackle air pollution.  However, journeys under two miles are overwhelmingly being driven rather than cycled, even though 38% of people agree many of these journeys could be made by bike rather than car.

Let us know what you think could be done to encourage cycling in Macclesfield - email me on john.knight@greenparty.org.uk.