If you build them, people will cycle!
Local mum Kayleigh feels the new cycle lanes being built across the south east Dorset region are a welcome addition and will help to allay people's fears about cycling and road safety on the conurbation's busy roads network.
Like many people in the BCP area, and like most of my friends, I drive to most places, even if they're not too far away. It can even feel like a chore to walk my son to nursery sometimes, and that's only a mile away.
The problem I face with cycling isn't a lack of desire - I'd love to take my bike out more, especially in the summer - but is all to do with safety on the busy roads.
I've been blind in my right eye since birth. It causes me no issues in my day-to-day life (apart from not being able to see 3D films in the cinema, which I'm sure I'll get over!), but it does mean that I have to feel completely safe to go anywhere near a road on my bike. With cars passing close on my right, it feels like a death wish. Protected cycle lanes that are separate from the traffic are so much safer.
In 2019 I went on honeymoon to Copenhagen with my husband. We spent the first half of the holiday walking everywhere, until we did so much our feet were spent. I'd been reluctant to try cycling their roads, but once I did, I loved it. There's a lot more space between cyclists and drivers, and dedicated infrastructure that just made it so easy and convenient. It was freeing, and our feet thanked us, not to mention we got to places quicker!
Over here, we're nowhere near that level yet but we have to start somewhere. I see so many comments on social media saying nobody uses cycle lanes, but I can't be alone in thinking that the better connected and safer they are, the more people will start to use them.
I also read recently that a study was done which showed that in cities where bike infrastructure was added, cycling increased by up to 48 percent more than in cities that did not add bike lanes. This just shows that the desire to cycle is there and if the lanes are provided, people will make the switch to their bikes. I expect that most families, like mine, are also concerned about safety on our busy roads, but when safe lanes are provided, they will use them.
Personally, I'm looking forward to a time where I not only feel safe enough to ride our roads, but also to take my son with me. I think the Transforming Travel programme is helping us get there.
Cycle lane in Copenhagen