The Horsham Cycle Debate takes place on Friday (April 21). To get the debate started here’s a comment from the district’s Cycling Forum.
Is it just me, or were the roads were much less busy when I grew up? In 1960s London I walked myself first to primary and then to senior school. And aged about eight, with the boys next door we used to ‘ride around the block’ – a 2-3 mile ride on local roads with not a parent in sight.
Today it’s different: only about 12% of children go to primary school without an adult taking them – the figure was nearly 80% in the 1970s. And what’s the main reason given by parents for taking their children to school? Traffic danger.
We’ve dealt with road danger by taking children off the streets. Then we’ve designed our roads to give every inch of space over to vehicles.
For anyone not driving it can be an unpleasant experience – we’ve let ‘Car become King’.
So now in Horsham at ‘school run’ time the roads are choked with cars as we drive our children to school. And not surprisingly, British children are reportedly ‘among the least active in the world, with exercise stripped out of modern lives’.
Have our children and grandchildren lost their freedom to get out and about on their own, lost their ‘right to roam’?
It doesn’t have to be like this. With the north of Horsham development looming we have a once in a generation chance to build something different. How about an attractive ‘underbridge’ so people on bikes and walking can cross the A264 safely?
We could have low-traffic neighbourhoods, where through traffic is ‘filtered out’ of residential areas but people can still reach their homes by car.
Two-way cycling on one way streets speeds up trips by bike, and segregated cycle tracks on main roads can move large numbers of people along a road very efficiently.
Then, instead of being stuck in our cars, we could all be active outside, travelling around our town each day in ways that are good for our waistlines, our air, and also benefit the local economy.
How we want to use our streets is a political choice, and it’s time politicians opened up that conversation.
The Horsham Cycle Debate is a place to start.
At 7.30pm on Friday April 21 at County Hall North candidates in the upcoming County Council elections will be invited to explain how they will create better neighbourhoods and people-friendly streets.
Everyone’s welcome to come along and ask questions.”
What do you think? Add a comment below.