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

25 February 2019

Last month, I wrote in this column about the problems of cycling in Macclesfield.  How an activity that should be healthy and enjoyable, a means of getting around without polluting the environment with fumes and noise, can feel like you’re risking injury to yourself and damage to your bicycle.

Two weeks later, we saw the dreadful death of a thirteen-year-old cyclist, killed in a collision with a car on his way to school.

Now we hear also that a local man, who has won Olympic gold medals for cycling, while out for a ride in the country lanes with his infant son, was nearly knocked off his bicycle by a van driver who apparently drove his vehicle at them, then angrily told them it was their own fault they were nearly killed.

Cheshire East Council is supposed to be responsible for promoting both public health and also a cycling strategy.  There’s precious little evidence of either; certainly not in Macclesfield.  This is a council that has allowed bus services to be cut to the bone and beyond.  A council whose response to traffic congestion is not to look for ways to reduce the traffic, but to build more and more roads to encourage more and more car journeys, while leaving existing roads in a shocking state.  A council that falsified air-quality data for years.  A council that refuses to make our residential streets safer by reducing urban speed limits.

We need a serious strategy for cycling in Macclesfield; cycle lanes that actually go somewhere, traffic-free cycleways through town and safe routes out to surrounding towns and villages.  A strategy that doesn’t leave cyclists feeling like second-class citizens, but encourages people to leave the car at home, to keep themselves fit and healthy while not having to dodge cars and potholes.