Supporters of TACC presented their petition to Councillor John Woodman, Cabinet Member for Highways at Somerset County Council on 10 January. The petition (both paper and online) is signed by 1800 local residents. The petition asks Somerset County Council (SCC) and Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) to prioritise and develop a major bid for Government funds for cycling infrastructure.
Pip Sheard, Chair of TACC said: “Our work shows that many people would like to cycle but safe infrastructure is needed to enable them to. More cycling will create large environmental, health and social benefits.
In their Climate Emergency Framework documents, both local Councils identify more cycling as a way to reduce local CO2 emissions from transport calculated at 50% of all Somerset West and Taunton’s emissions. Swopping the car for a bike on a local journey reduces your carbon emissions to zero.
Over the summer, TACC supporters spent a considerable amount of time working with Somerset County Council officers and cycling the town looking at current cycling routes and how they could be improved. Some of this work has been sent to the Government in a document called the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) but now the proposed improvements need funding.”
TACC asks SCC to:
1. Lobby the Government working with our MP to ask them to set up a national dedicated cycling fund as part of the Government’s developing Infrastructure Plan.
2. Ask the Government that this national cycling fund be sufficient so towns like Taunton, Bridgwater and Yeovil all have a serious chance of getting funds.
3. To support the bid for a Somerset County Council budget for cycling at the Council’s February budget meeting.
4. To write to his officers to ask them to adopt the new proposed Department for Transport Cycle Design Advice and Chapter Six of Traffic Signs Manual, which reflects some of the guidance.
In these dark winter days with challenging weather and road conditions it’s wise to pay attention to a few safety measures before you hit the road. In a video made by Avon and Somerset Police, TACC’s Bikeability Instructor Nick Warner gives winter cycling tips about clothing, lights, the technical condition of your bike and your position on the road. A must-watch with a good checklist.
As part of our campaign to pass safely, we have been getting the ‘safe pass’ message out with our vests and back pack covers during the summer months. Users of these hi-viz vests and covers have answered a short survey about their experience.
- All but one of the 43 respondents found the vests/covers to be significantly or slightly positive in terms of influencing driver behaviour (60% significantly positively);
- All users felt safer, of whom: 21% a lot, 60% moderately and 19% a little;
- A very large majority of 90% would recommend the vests/covers to other cyclists.
Road Safety Fund for a successful campaign
TACC successfully applied for a grant from the Road Safety Fund for a campaign to increase awareness of safe passing and improve local cyclists’ confidence on roads. Mike Ginger explains how TACC used the money.
We know that most drivers are considerate of other road users, and that cycling is much safer than many people think. However sometimes a driver will pass us much closer than is ideal or safe.
Avon and Somerset Police would like to know about these incidents so they can educate and plan enforcement activity.
You can report any close passes on a special web page of Avon and Somerset Police.
Read more about Near Misses and how to avoid them.
TACC has taken an important step towards joining up the fragmented network of cycle routes in and around Taunton – Turning the Cycle Network Blue!
In 2017 the Department for Transport published guidance for local authorities to produce local plans for improved cycling and walking infrastructure. To complete this work in Taunton the most important routes needed to be audited and reported on in detail.
TACC volunteers spent lots of their time in the summer months completing 40 of these audits, identifying some excellent routes and infrastructure along with significant gaps where work is urgently needed to make cycling direct, safe and comfortable for everyone.
This work has recently been presented to an officer of Somerset County Council to support their work in improving transport in and around Taunton, and will be submitted to the Department for Transport in late November 2019. There are high hopes that the plan will attract national and local funding.