>REMINDER: AGM TONIGHT (14TH NOV, GREGSON, 7.30)<
In April Dynamo had an extended series of correspondence with Cllr Joan Jackson (Lancaster South East) about cycling along the A6. Cllr Jackson has now responded to our latest letter and her tone towards cycling has certainly softened. However, where Cllr Jackson seems to be pessimistic for the fate of the cyclist on Lancaster’s roads, Dynamo are rather more positive.
Below are two letters. The first is Cllr Jackson’s response to our letter asking for scrutiny of the latest County Council report to consider re-engineering the A6 between Lancaster and Galgate. In the second we set out two concerns with Cllr Jackson’s response: that she sees the A6 question only in terms of an alternative route between Town/University; and that she thinks the Council can’t change people’s attitudes to cycling. We wait to see what Cllr Jackson thinks of our arguments.
Cllr Jackson’s letter:
I am aware of the problems associated with cyclists using the A6 in preference to the dedicated cycle path to the University. I too am awaiting the Jacobs consultancy report and promise that I will study the findings before making any decision. There is no way, unfortunately, to force some motorists to show respect for other road users. My daughter is a keen cyclist so you can rest assured she puts forward the case for more respect for cyclists! I regret the unfortunate accidents suffered by the Tuffen family.
Kind regards, Joan
Joan Jackson (Mrs)
Lancaster South East
Home (01524) 770008
Thank you for your response regarding the A6 route, and I’m glad that you will be closely considering the significance of the Jacobs report for all road-users.
However, there are a couple of things in your email that I think it is
really important to note that demonstrate the significance of the A6 route, and some common misconceptions:
1. You seem to suggest that the A6 route would only operate as an
alternative to the current routes suggested for cyclists between town and Lancaster University. This is simply not the case. Thousands of Lancaster residents live along the A6 and could make use of that route for everyday journeys, including many journeys that do not go to the University (or to the town centre). Indeed Dr Tuffen’s incidents are cases in point; both these events could have occurred to anyone who *had* used that off-road route to its full extent, then turned onto the A6 at Hala because they needed to get to somewhere in Greaves – the signed routes through Bowerham and along the canal would simply not have helped them get to their destination. Dynamo are not asking for another route for cycling between town and university, we are asking for one of the major roads in Lancaster to be made safe for cyclists wherever along the route their origin and destination are. Many of your constituents, wherever they wish to travel by bike would need to make some of that journey on the A6 regardless or not of whether they subsequently use other routes.
2. You also express the view that there is no way to force some
motorists to show respect for other road users. There is a huge volume of evidence that this is not the case. In places where cycling is supported and where take up is already high there are better relationships between people in cars and people on bikes. In these areas motorists are more familiar with bikes and therefore in
generally take more care to observe them. Indeed the distinction
between cyclists and motorists is often not a useful one: where
cycling numbers are high it is often because people use bikes for some journeys and cars for others. This naturally increases mutual respect on the road. To increase the number of people on bikes along the A6 by creating dedicated cycle lanes would therefore be one way to increase cycling and so increase respect on the road.
The significance of creating a visible support of safe cycling on the
major traffic route between Galgate and Lancaster would be of huge benefit to the area, and following the national debate that cam out of last week’s unfortunate events involving members of British Cycling, would be in line with the national mood. As Dynamo have regularly pointed out, dedicated cycle lanes on this critical transport link would also help the County meet most of the seven transport priorities it sets out in the 2011 Local Transport Plan: i.e. to meet its carbon emissions targets, improve access to education and employment, improve safety, and provide safe, reliable, convenient and affordable transport alternatives to the car,– and to promote the health of local citizens.
The Council has the power to do more than simply put forward the case for more respect for cyclists. By making dedicated improvements to the network and by making it easier for everyone, including your daughter, to get out onto their bikes in a safe environment, including dedicated cycle lanes in areas where they are needed such as the A6, the Council can make a real positive difference to people’s travel choices.