A little while ago we held a Q&A session with Councillor Chris Weaver, the Assistant Cabinet Member for Active Travel and Wellbeing for Cardiff Council. We were thrilled with the turnout on the day and with the almost continuous barrage of questions that flowed from those who attended.
However, whether the question raised was about money, design standards, bike parking or the bike hire scheme that has been announced, fundamentally everything boils down to one thing —our voice.
Cardiff Council are doing some things which would seem to indicate that they want Cardiff to be a great cycling city. The Bike Life project is mapping what people want as well as what is stopping them cycling. Council officers recently took a cycle tour of Cardiff with Gehl Architects from Copenhagen. Gehl mean serious business when it comes to cycling infrastructure. They’ll be working with Cardiff Council on the new cycling strategy. The cycling team at Cardiff Council have also been inundated with examples of good and bad practice from people like us.
However, one thing is abundantly clear, not every one is on board. Most consultations & Councillor surgery sessions result in people with cars asking about or complaining about car parking!
There are more people who drive and they waste no time whatsoever in making their presence felt when issues arise. We need to do the same, but because there are fewer of us, we are going to need to speak louder, differently and maybe get some of those drivers on side too.
No, before you say it, we don’t mean going along to a surgery yelling at the top of your voice —it may cause a scene!
What we can do is to look at what is happening in our wards: is there a consultation about cycle routes; could existing routes to school be made better; would you shop locally if you had somewhere to park your bike? Make it really specific, and get your local Councillors involved.
Cardiff Cycle Campaign are great at looking at the detail and responding to consultations but we all need to be getting involved.
When we say all, we mean all! Whether you cycle regularly, just on weekends or want to cycle but don’t feel safe doing so, get in touch.
TELL ME HOW?
First things first, you need to know who your local Councillor is. Head over to the Councillor Search page on the council website and search by ward.
As well as your local Councillors, let Phil Bale, Leader of the Council, know that cycling is key to making Cardiff a liveable city. Get in touch with your Assembly Member too.
You can get in touch about any issues that you have in relation to routes (including to schools), bike parking, potholes and road surfaces and ask that your Councillor follows up on it.
The Active Travel Act means that Cardiff will shortly have to set out its plans for an ambitious network of cycling and walking routes that will allow people to make everyday journeys by bike or on foot.
Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, Sustrans Cymru and Welsh Cycling are working together to help make walking and cycling in your local community work for you. They’ve set up a handy online form that will generate an email to the council for you. Just head over to the Cycling UK page, fill in the form at the bottom and click “next”.
Alternatively, you can use the contact us button on the Walking & Cycling page of the council’s website. Fill in your details and put: “Please contact me about the council’s development of active travel maps under the Active Travel Act (2013) 4 (3)”, in the message box, then the council is obliged to let you know about the consultation on the maps.
You can then look at any transport projects or traffic regulation orders (TRO’s) that affect your neighbourhood and your ability to cycle on it. Get in touch with your Councillor or just email the contact on the consultation or TRO and make sure your concerns or better yet, constructive suggestions are noted.