Why we need improved access to cycling in Loughborough
We are a group of cyclists who live and ride in the Loughborough area and would like to see local cycling provision meet the standard set by the Netherlands.
After interviewing and surveying members of the public in the Listening to Loughborough campaign, we decided to respond to the commonly-raised issue of access to cycling lanes in the town.
The vision of the campaign is to improve cycling access within the Loughborough area and, in doing so, have a positive impact on health, congestion, road safety and cycling tourism.
The Listening Campaign in Loughborough, from which this specific campaign arose, is run by a group of individuals from Loughborough and the surrounding villages who wanted to know what the real issues were affecting local people. Listening is important in Loughborough because there is a general sense that the town has been neglected by those in power and if this is to change, the people of Loughborough need to know that there are people who care.
One of our group contacted ‘We Can Win’ and asked for their assistance to help get us started. We Can Win trained our group in how to make contact and open discussions with the people of Loughborough, and then how to pull out the main issues from our conversations. This was over two sessions about two months apart; giving us time to have hundreds of conversations and collect relevant data.
The first session, with We Can Win, was split into two parts: The morning looking at what we thought were the key issues in the Loughborough area; the afternoon was spent out in the town talking to the people of Loughborough and asking them what was on their minds.
We then regrouped to compare the issues we had raised in the morning to those raised by the people of Loughborough. The agreed outcome of the first session was that we would have further local conversations before our next meeting with We Can Win, in order to improve the quality of the data we had access to.
The second session focussed on the issues that had come out of the additional data we had gathered and deciding on the issues to take forward.
This is an example of why I decided that I wanted to do something about cycling access.
During the day of listening I was told by one member of the public that they were concerned about cyclists sharing the pavements with pedestrians in the town centre. This was because on one occasion their granddaughter who was three years old had a narrow miss with a cyclist outside McDonald’s.
As a cyclist I value the ability to cycle through a traffic free town centre and as a parent I understand the concern for the safety of young children and the vulnerable.
We need to find a way for cyclists to continue to have access to the town centre and at the same time improve the level of safety for pedestrians of all ages.