Presentation - Cycling Action Plan
Gordon Oliver introduced the item and informed members that Cabinet had formally adopted the Cycling Action Plan on January 31st, which had been produced following work with the Cycle Forum. The Action Plan ensured a consistent and coordinated approach to cycling across the Borough and ensured that resources and funding would be allocated depending on need; hitherto projects and funding allocation had been done on an ad hoc basis. The Plan intended to integrate cycle routes with other forms of transport, and there had been a particular focus on linking to railways. For example a 300 space cycling hub had recently been installed at Maidenhead railway station in order to improve access to the town centre. Gordon Oliver told the Forum that when the Local Transport Plan was reviewed following the adoption of the Borough Local Plan, opportunities to integrate cycle routes into redevelopment work across the Borough would be explored.
Surveys showed that 15 per cent of Royal Borough residents cycled at least once a month, but that fewer than 3 per cent of residents cycled to work despite 36 per cent living within 5km of their workplace. Usage of cycling routes in Windsor was nearly double that of Maidenhead, despite routes in Maidenhead generally being flatter than those in Windsor. Only one in six cyclists were female. Casualty rates amongst cyclists was higher in the Royal Borough compared to the Berkshire, regional and national averages. Gordon Oliver explained that it was hoped cycling could become an established part of everyday life rather than a fringe activity enjoyed by a few. However in order to implement this there needed to be a more comprehensive cycle route system; at present there were bits missing from key areas. Another avenue to be explored was the promotion of cycling’s health benefits, which was being done through improved communications with clinical groups.
A challenging objective of increasing cycle journeys by 20 per cent by 2022 from 2017, and a 50 per cent increase by 2027, had been set, along with a 20 per cent reduction in cycling casualties by 2021 compared to 2017. Schemes to promote cycling within businesses and schools had been carried out.
The Forum was told that there was a recommendation from the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group that £10 per person per year should be spent on cycling. However this was far below the amount being spent on comparative cycling projects in the Netherlands. Potential revenue streams for this were noted by the Forum.
Surveys were carried out to monitor cycle use in the Royal Borough, and it was hoped that the surveys would show an increase in the number of female cyclists. The number of children taking part in Bikeability training schemes, and those who passed them, would also be monitored, as would resident satisfaction levels. The ten parish areas of the Royal Borough had all been profiled, and all were consistent with their relevant Local Plans. Existing cycling routes had been audited and popular cycling destinations had been identified, and £5million of high priority schemes had been identified.
Road safety analysis had been carried out which showed there was a higher casualty rate in Maidenhead. Although there were no clear patterns, there were concerns over safety of cyclists trying to cross busy A roads or pulling out at roundabouts, particularly as in certain locations there were very few cycle-only routes. Trying to cycle between Windsor and Ascot was viewed as being particularly problematic. Cllr Beer said that in many places roads were heavily used and were narrow, making it difficult for other vehicles to pass cyclists safely. Schools had been asked if they needed any improvements to cycle parking provision; all those who had said they did had now been visited by officers.
Richard Copas then gave a presentation on a proposed circular cycle route around the Cookhams, with the potential to connect it to Bourne End, Marlow and Maidenhead. It would have exit points to various sites of interest, and the local primary schools to encourage children to cycle to school. The planned route would go through land owned by five different landowners. Richard Copas said a large amount would go through land owned by the Copas family. The National Trust, which was another local landowner, had been positive in their response, as had the owner of the gravel company which stood on part of the land. However it had been hoped the path would have a tarmac surface, which had been met with some resistance from the National Trust. One of the landowners had not been spoken to about the proposals, but Richard Copas said that a footpath going across their land already existed. Consent would need to be given to allow cycles to use the paths. Members said they supported the idea of the proposals.