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Cardiff to hold politicians to account at cycling hustings

Assembly hopefuls will be asked about their cycling credentials ahead of May elections

Cardiff’s politicians are to be examined on their cycling policies ahead of May’s Assembly Elections - with all six major parties being questioned on their plans to improve cycling facilities across the city.

Cardiff Cycle City has organised the event, a special cycling hustings, to be held at 7.00 p.m. on Tuesday 5 April 2016 in the David Morgan Room of the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.

Entry is free but spaces are limited. Tickets can be booked here.

A spokesperson for Cardiff Cycle City said: “Cycling in Cardiff is on the up with an increase of over 28% in trips by bike between 2013 and 2014, so cyclists are now an important part of the electorate.

“On top of that, the 2015 Bike Life survey of the general public in Cardiff showed 78% want an increase in investment in cycling in the city.

“This means it’s in the interest of all political parties to make cycling a key part of their election manifestoes in Cardiff. Our event will give voters an opportunity to decide which party can best deliver improved facilities for cycling in our capital city.”

Cardiff Cycle City was established in January 2014. Cardiff Cycle City is a movement bringing different individuals and groups together to, in its words, make Cardiff the best cycling city in the UK.

Its manifesto includes calls for a city-centre cycle hub to raise the profile of cycling and provide secure bike parking, along with bike maintenance and tool hire to help people make the most of cycling in Cardiff.

The group also wants a publicly appointed Cycling Commissioner to promote cycling in Cardiff and hold to account the Welsh Government, Cardiff Capital Region, Cardiff Council and other key decision-making bodies.

The manifesto also asks for  the establishment of two new cycle superhighways, 20mph speed limits across the city, where needed, and an annual budget of £15 per person, per year.

The Manifesto was developed in discussion with key stakeholders, including Cardiff Cycling Campaign, CTC, Sustrans, Welsh Cycling, Local Transport Projects, cycle tour companies, bike shops and other groups. In addition, over 700 people took part in an online consultation and informed the final manifesto.

Cardiff is one of the flattest cities in Britain and has more green space per person than any other UK core city. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of people cycling to work in Cardiff increased by 65% and the Council’s current cycling map already plots over 500 miles of recommended cycle routes.

In addition, over 77,000 people commute into the city from outside Cardiff – 80% travelling by car – creating massive congestion, which is bad for business.  

Only 30% of Welsh people get the exercise they need, contributing to the £70m a year that NHS Wales spends in dealing with the costs of obesity.

Only last week we reported how Cardiff is set to resurrect a cycle hire scheme originally launched in 2009 but found to be a flop.

Council transport bosses want a London-style sponsored bike hire scheme for locals and visitors to use.

Back in 2009 the Smart bike scheme in was launched throughout the city centre, Cathays and Cardiff Bay after a review of cycling in the city.

A commercial venture by OYBike saw blocks of bikes stationed in and around the city centre and once a bike was finished with it could be returned to any of the available stands.

75 bikes were installed in 10 stands in all, but was shortlived - partly because it wasn't rolled out to the planned 35 docking stations.

The Cardiff scheme ended on 23 December 2011 with OYBike citing a lack of ongoing sponsorship.

This was despite the first 30 minutes of any ride being free, in order to encourage users. Only 5 per cent of users were repeat customers. The whole day cost was £5.

Now an operator is being sought to provide 500 bikes located at key points around the city close to public transport.

A spokesman said that all costs would be borne by the sponsor and operator.

"The aspiration of the new scheme intends to be far larger that the initial pilot scheme back in 2011, with 500 self-service bikes located across the authority area," he said.

"These will be based at a number of sites including strategic locations close to existing public transport facilities.”

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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