On Saturday 18 November Sustrans held their annual regional meet-up. The meeting was well attended and was a great opportunity to network with other Sustrans volunteers as well as to gather useful information. Bob Steele (Mid-Somerset co-ordinator) gave a presentation about the work of the group which was well received. There was also a presentation about the Taunton Project from Ruby Tobin.
Representatives of Sustrans, including James Cleeton, Regional Director, reminded and inspired all attendees about the core aims of Sustrans as well as issues around land and the cycle network management. A workshop covering the planning process and how to influence planning decisions was also held.
The day finished with a ride around the Taunton Foxglove Cycle Trail led by Mike Ginger of TACC.
It was a great opportunity to test the trail on another group of people and the response was very positive. Even people who have lived locally for years said that they were discovering green spaces that they didn’t know existed.
TACC have funding for the way marking and we are now seeking funding to produce a map of the route together with a sizeable print run with a launch date hopefully achievable by Spring 2018. This is supported by Visit Taunton who receive lots of requests for cycling information.
For a map of the Foxglove Cycle Trail click here.
On Saturday 18th November members of TACC held another supporter recruitment day. The day exceeded all expectations and a further 89 new supporters were signed up.
Again it was great to hear from local residents, not only from those who cycle but also from non-cyclists who understand the need to encourage cycling in and around the town, who support the aims of TACC.
Our supporter base now stands at 493 supporters which is just seven short of our 500 signed up supporters by Christmas target; a big well done to all those involved!
On Thursday 9th November TACC held another supporter drive to increase numbers towards our goal of five hundred by Christmas. Despite a dull, drizzly day another 61 supporters were signed up.
It is really encouraging the way many people relate to what we are talking about, and put forward their own ideas.
Our supporter base now heads towards the four hundred mark so we still have some work to do.
To that end further drives are planned for Saturday 18th November outside Monsoon in Taunton town centre and Sunday 3rd December along the Obridge link by the bridge over the canal and French Weir.
Report a near miss is an Avon and Somerset Constabulary initiative to enable the police to gather information so that they can focus their safety campaigns efficiently.
It also educates drivers of motorised vehicles to allow enough space when overtaking cyclists. This follows on from the work carried out by other police forces including the West Midlands, who were the first police force to champion this, under their ‘Give Space, Be Safe’ campaign;
Although the Highway Code is very vague on the issue when it comes to overtaking cyclists with Rule 163 telling drivers to “give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car” and Rule 212 stating “give them [cyclists] plenty of room” police forces are keen to educate drivers that they should leave at least 1.5 metres of space in order to safely overtake a cyclist.
On Taunton Farmer’s Market Day, Thursday 12th October, members of the TACC Communications Committee held another ‘sign up TACC supporters’ campaign. After a tricky start, when we were moved on from the pitch photographed above to a spot outside Monsoon which actually proved advantageous, we had a steady flow of interest throughout the day. Without exception people were very interested in TACC’s aims and were very willing to become supporters.
We also took the opportunity to raise the Firepool ‘Boulevard’ Taunton railway station to the town centre proposal which currently has no provision for cyclists and again people were very keen to express their concerns by signing the petition.
Finally a subject which concerns many cyclists who take to our busy roads – ‘did that motorist actually see me?!’ – was highlighted by giving out the hotline contact details of the Report a near miss campaign run by the Avon and Somerset Constabulary. Further details can be found here Cycling – Avon & Somerset Police
All in all a very successful day with over 70 new TACC supporters signed up … still some way to go before our goal of 500 supporters is reached so please explain our aims and continue to sign up new supporters whenever you can.