‘Safer cycling provision would revolutionise the Sid Valley’

PUBLISHED: 06:14 15 November 2016

Steering group member Claire Russell is hoping the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan can influence introduction of more shared pathways

Steering group member Claire Russell is hoping the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan can influence introduction of more shared pathways

Archant

Calls for ongoing campaign as survey indicates majority do not feel safe on town’s roads

The introduction of ‘Siddy Bike’ rentals, a shared path network and a dedicated campaign have been suggested to promote cycling in the Sid Valley.

Initial findings from an ongoing survey have revealed that 82 per cent of people with children or grandchildren do not currently feel safe riding on the town’s roads.

Committed cyclist Claire Russell, of Lymebourne Park, is fighting to highlight this issue and says better cycling provision would revolutionise the Sid Valley and benefit everyone in the community.

She is conducting a rolling survey on behalf of the Neighbourhood Plan steering group to collate people’s opinions on cycling in and around the town.

Claire, a healthcare assistant for the Sid Valley Practice, said: “The reason I joined the Neighbourhood Plan steering group was because I was nearly hit on Woolbrook Road. I lived in Exeter for 30 years and saw how it got better in terms of provision for cyclists.

“In Sidmouth, I was really shocked because the environment is really beautiful, but there is very little provision for people to walk or cycle safely in the urban area between communities - with the exception of The Byes.

“That is what I am fighting for because it would absolutely revolutionise the Sid Valley for people who live here and also for tourism. If we could change just a few journeys to create less cars on the roads, then it would make such a difference.”

The Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan, once adopted, will provide a blueprint to shape future developments in Sidmouth, Sidford, Sidbury and Salcombe Regis for the next 20 years.

Feedback from the cycling study will feed into the plan and Claire is urging everyone to submit their views.

Among the 19 returned questionnaires so far, two are collective responses from Sid Valley cycling clubs and bike shops.

Of these, 79 per cent said they do not feel safe cycling in the Sid Valley - with speeding traffic, busy roads, poor driving, no space on shared routes and a lack of dedicated paths cited as reasons.

All respondents said there is a need for more dedicated cycle and pedestrian pathways, off-road networks and a stipulation that all new housing developments include cycle paths.

Aspirational suggestions for the region included provision of ‘Siddy Bikes’ to rent from hubs around the town, an integrated mobility programme to get people out of cars, a cycle route map and calls for Sidmouth to ‘emulate Exeter’ in its cycling campaign.

Claire thanked everyone who has responded so far and urged other to seize the chance to have their say.

Email crussell874541@gmail.com to request a copy of the questionnaire.

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