Letters: Cycling ban affects economic vitality of the town

Cycle lane sign

Dear editor

Cycling Campaign for North Bedfordshire (CCNB) is concerned that the recommendation on the renewal of the PSPO ban on cycling in the town centre is to extend it for a further three years after responses to the consultation showed 54% opposed the ban against only 35% supporting it.

Read: Fury as deputy mayor ignores consultation results on town centre cycle ban

Prior to the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020 the ban had started to have an adverse effect on the economic vitality of the town.

Cycle counts by CCNB on the number of people cycling to the town centre between 2006 and 2015 had shown a 40% increase.

Following the introduction of the first ban in 2016 counts dropped 8% in the first year and a further 25% over the next two years when Kingdom Security were tasked to police the ban.

This led the level to revert back to almost the one seen in 2006. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen further reductions to 40% below the 2006 level.

The ban and the resultant fines have also had a significant effect on the number of disabled residents visiting the town centre who use a cycle as a mobility aid.

This is contrary to previous assurances given to CCNB and goes against the government’s 2018 Inclusive Transport Strategy.

It should be noted that the potentially more hazardous mobility scooters are not affected.

A further extension of the ban is not likely to encourage more residents to consider using a cycle for short distances to help reduce the high greenhouse gas emissions from transport, currently 41% of the total, contributing to climate change. The clock is ticking to prevent an irreversible change.

Peter Blakeman
Cycling Campaign for North Bedfordshire

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