This is the article we submitted for the April edition of the Hayling Islander. The published article was subject to editing by the Islander. Also, depending on the timing of the Infrastructure report’s publication and the Hayling Islander deadlines, we might make some last-minute changes.
Cycle Hayling says get on our bikes and avoid the jams
Did you get stuck in the traffic jams last month, as I did? 90 minutes from Bedhampton to Mengham was the worst I heard. But I can’t deny I enjoyed overtaking everybody by using the new cycle path to Tesco. Maybe it’s time you got on your bike?
The new Local Plan 2036 makes it clear that Hayling’s going to get a lot more houses, for better or worse. And that means more traffic jams on our single narrow road off the island, and more gridlocks.
The consultants recommended more roundabouts and traffic lights, but we think that will just make things worse.
Another bridge looks pretty unlikely, even if we all wanted it (and I’m sure many don’t).
Well here’s a radical suggestion.
What if 10% or 20% of car journeys moved to bikes?
For less than the cost of last month’s disruptive road works at Langstone, we could build high quality, smooth cycle paths all over the island and into Havant. And they’d last for decades with almost no maintenance.
Would you use them, if you had a nice, safe, traffic-free ride, and it didn’t take too much longer? And it kept you fit, and saved you a small fortune in car running costs? What about if you had an electric bike? Tell us, at cyclehayling.org.uk/feedback.
There is funding available – Sustrans have just won £21 million from the government to improve the Nation Cycle Network (NCN), which includes NCN2 that runs along the south coast, including the Billy Trail.
Share with care
But for now, cyclists have to share paths with pedestrians and roads with cars. The more care we show, the more likely we are to get our own paths in future.
With pedestrians, ringing your bell or calling ‘bike coming through’ makes a huge difference. As does saying thank you when they move over.
With roads, we’re all sharing narrow roads that were built for a tenth of today’s traffic. Nothing annoys drivers more than a cyclist blocking the road when there’s a cycle path available, so it’s in our own interests to use the few cycle paths there are, even if they’re a few seconds slower. Councillors can’t justify spending scarce resources building new paths if we don’t use the ones we have.
And if you’re a driver (and most cyclists are), please leave the odd bigger gap between cars to let bikes (or pedestrians) cross the road more easily. You’ll get to the next jam just as quickly.
And every bike you see on the road is probably replacing a car, taking a lot less road and parking space, and cutting air pollution.
Wouldn’t it be good if more of us could take the load off the roads by cycling?
The Big Pedal to School
The Sustrans Big Pedal fortnight ends on 5th April (bigpedal.org.uk), where schools compete to get the most cycling to school miles. This year, our nearest schools were in Havant – maybe next year you could encourage Hayling schools to take part?
But there’s nothing to stop you and your children cycling to school anyway!
Spring is coming
It’s time to check your bike out. Remember the ABCD checklist? Air in tyres, Brakes and Bars, Chain oiled & gears working, no Dangerous bits hanging down? Or pop it in to the bike shop. It’ll save you a fortune in fuel, bus fares or gym fees.
If you’re thinking of buying a bike, but not sure what you need, we saw some great help at www.dailybiking.com/2014/08/types-of-bicycles-explained.html
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Cycle Hayling, for a more cycle-friendly island.