In the world of cycling it sometimes seems like we are going round in circles with no real progress being made. It might seem obvious to us what needs to be done to improve our cities, after all there has been an interminable amount of research that proves that cycling is not just good for you but can literally make you live longer.
However, as with any ‘controversial’ public schemes there is a lot of groundwork needed before any spade hits the ground, most of which, unfortunately, isn’t factual, it’s political.
One of our major roles at Cardiff Cycle City (C=CC) is to inform you, the cycling public of Cardiff, of this progress, and in some cases how you can assist in the process.
A year is a long time in politics
2017 was the year for the scheduled council elections, the last being in 2012. After the success of our hustings event for the Welsh Assembly elections in 2016 we decided to do the same thing for the council. The Cardiff Council Hustings was an even bigger event, attracting the attendance of the then leader of the council, Phil Bale.
The resulting shakedown of the council saw a new leader in Huw Thomas, who used to work for sustainability charity Sustrans, and cabinet member positions for two cycling advocates Caro Wild and Chris Weaver.
Caro, who is a founder member of Cardiff Cycle City, is now the cabinet member for Strategic Planning & Transport, whilst Chris Weaver was assigned Finance, Modernisation & Consultation.
This means that we currently have cyclists responsible for transport, planning, the budget, and also in charge of the entire council! We have never been in such a promising position to get proper cycling provision in Cardiff.
Cardiff Cycle City – An annual summary of activities
In November 2016, we adopted the Cycling UK, Space For Cycling initiative as the main focus/single issue around which we would campaign during 2017. A further Action Plan for 2017/18 was drawn up in November 2017.
C=CC involvement in campaigns and Consultations:
- Close Pass Initiative: instigating meetings with Alun Michael MP ultimately influencing the decision by South Wales Police to implement Operation Close Pass.
- Integrated Network Map: Involvement in Consultations on the proposed Walking and Cycling routes for the Integrated Network Maps and setting up a very well attended public consultation event with Cardiff Council at City Hall.
- Hustings: April 2017 Set up a public hustings focussing on cycling, around the local elections with representation from most political parties and 50 attendees.
- Taff Trail Engagement Study: involvement in consultation with Sustrans Cymru, setting up another well attended public event at RideMyBike Cafe.
- Schools Questionnaire: Two members of C=CC have been working on a questionnaire for parents at two Cardiff schools to identify what stops them walking or cycling to the schools. (This has the potential to be rolled out to further Cardiff Schools if desired).
- Cycle Hangars: four members of C=CC are working on a pilot project with Cardiff Council with proposals for four hangars in contrasting locations around Cardiff.
- Considerate Contractors: C=CC representative working with Sustrans on a Code of Practice for Contractors working in areas where they affect cycling and walking routes.
- Justice for Cyclists: We contacted all major party candidates for the four Cardiff constituencies in the General Election raising the need for the legal system to take dangerous driving offences more seriously.
C=CC attendance at events, launches and meetings:
- C=CC representatives attended the launch of the Sustrans Bike life report 2017
- C=CC representatives were present at the press event announcing the upcoming Nextbike bike hire scheme
- C=CC invited to send a representative to the Welsh Assembly Cross Party Group on Active Travel Act
- C=CC representatives sit on the Cardiff Council Cycling Stakeholder Advisory Group set up during November 2017 – meeting every two months.
- C=CC representatives set up individual meetings with AMs and local Councillors to discuss local barriers to cycling
The Active Travel Act implementation: Meetings were held with AMs Julie Morgan, Jenny Rathbone and Mark Drakeford; Councillor for Llanishen, Thomas Parkhill and Councillors for Penylan and Pentwyn: Joe Boyle and Emma Sandrey.
We will continue to build on these successes in the year ahead, and look forward to welcoming Peter Walker, author of Bike Nation, to our next event in March. We hope to see you there!
Cardiff Cycle City is run by volunteers. If you have any time or skills that you think would benefit our cause then please get in touch!