Worcester City Council is proposing to allow cycling in the pedestrianised area of the city centre. I think this is a sensible idea, although I understand that others disagree. The majority of cyclists understand the need to cycle differently depending on the environment. It works elsewhere, so why not Worcester?
However, according to a letter to the Worcester News (13/02/18) from Councillor Alan Amos this is actually “to allow cycle-mad morons” to speed through Worcester “causing endless accidents and mayhem”.
Councillor Alan Amos happens to be the Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Highways. Part of his role is to promote cycling and improve the terrible rush-hour congestion in Worcester. I have to question whether he can properly carry out this role with such a bigoted, prejudiced view of people who ride bikes. The fact that Worcester City Council’s own surveys have shown that almost half the population would like to cycle, does he really think that if these people decide to get on a bike they will all suddenly turn into cycle-mad morons? I presume not!
He went on to make the interesting point that on his visits to Scandinavia and the Netherlands, where cycling is common, the lanes for cyclists are separated and so cyclists do not go through pedestrianised areas. What he failed to mention was the far greater amount of money that these countries spend on cycling infrastructure. Many times what we spend in the UK, and many, many more times that we spend in Worcestershire. Yet, when myself and other councillors recently asked the council to increase funding per head for cycling, he was the one that argued against it!
Until we have decent cycling infrastructure, which with Councillor Amos in charge may be a long time, we should do what we can to get more people cycling, including opening up the pedestrianised areas. If Worcestershire spent as much per head per year on cycling as countries like the Netherlands do, then maybe we wouldn’t need to be debating whether cycling should be allowed in pedestrianised areas as there would be a vast number of safe, alternative routes for those on bikes to use.
But what do I know, I’m just a cycle-mad moron (supposedly).