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No local response to cycle campaign

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In a campaign launched in April, 12,000 people asked councillors across the country: “will you support Space For Cycling and seek the funding to make it happen”.
In West Berkshire, none of the 45 councillors written to have signed up to the initiative, which aims to make cycling accessible to all through improved planning and increased funding. This is despite a government report published last year which recommended increased spending on cycling of at least £10 per person.
A BBC survey also found this week that more than half of UK adults felt that local roads were too dangerous for cyclists, and a study published by road safety charity Brake says that more than a third of young cyclists cited lack of safe routes as preventing them from cycling.
There are 2,126 people who regularly cycle to work in West Berkshire and 45 letters have been sent to some of the 52 councillors, according to CTC.
Councillor Tony Vickers who co-founded local cycling organisation Spokes but has not received any correspondence from the campaign group said: “ever since 2003 I have been campaigning for better cycling facilities.
“We haven’t got a lot better, cycling provision is very patchy.
“Every pound you spend on cycling facilities makes it safer for other motorists on the roads, but very few other councillors cycle”.
One cyclist from Newbury who regularly rides a 40-mile journey along a dangerous stretch of road has been campaigning to the council for safety improvements since April.
Ed Burgess, aged 37, cycles the one-hour journey on the A4 between Newbury and Reading on his commute to work.
His three-month campaign for the council to use two variable messaging signs on the road to display the warning: “Think! Cyclist. Let’s look out for each other” has been successful.
This week, Mr Burgess said he was pleased that the council had listened to his idea and acted upon it.
Of the A4, he said “the dangers on the road are clear to see. I have to navigate potholes, bad infrastructure. The cycling culture is mostly useless and you have to spend money on it”.
There have been 29 serious accidents involving cyclists on the A4 between Reading and the A34 junction at Denford in the last five years, three of which were fatal.
Last year there were 109 cyclist deaths on UK roads, and 19,438 casualties, an increase of two per cent. The majority of these occurred on built up roads.
Councillor Vickers said using the signs was “very effective” and would support improvements to cycling infrastructure.
He said he was pleased with the signs but added there were always “cowboys” on the roads and motorists usually speed “absent minded”.

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