Good to see more people using their bikes

First published in Letters

EVEN in this continued wet period in January it is pleasing to see that Salisbury’s residents are getting the message that using a bicycle for everyday activities provides benefits in terms of convenience, improved health and economy, with no fuel or parking costs.

Cycle parking counts undertaken by volunteers from the Cycling Opportunities Group for Salisbury (COGS) have shown that number of residents cycling this winter is consistently higher than last year.

Hundreds of cyclists in and around Salisbury are using this environmentally friendly means of travel to get to work, shops and the railway station on a daily basis.

COGS would like to remind all road users of the importance of road safety especially during these short winter days when there is limited daylight.

We would like to encourage cyclists to be seen - please wear light coloured clothing, preferably incorporating high visibility material or a high-viz sash or tabard (costs very little) that can easily be slipped over your everyday or work clothing when cycling.

Cycle lights are just fantastic now. They provide enough power to see where you going and can be just as powerful as car headlamps - and rechargeable LED lights are very cheap to run.

However, we all need to play our role in road safety and motorists need to be aware of the potential presence of cyclists and pedestrians and take care to ensure their view of the road is not impaired.

It has not been unusual to see motorists in the recent frosty morning peering out a small area of ice and condensation - remember there may also be black ice ahead – give pedestrians and cyclists and yourself a chance in these less than perfect conditions.

The Highway Code is a great guide and indicates that we should all act with consideration for others. Despite the high levels of publicity given to cycle accidents it remains the case that the health benefits of cycling over vastly outweigh the health risks of inactivity.

COGS will keep on counting parked bikes so it would be great to see even more people switching to cycling during 2014, and Salisbury would reap the benefits in terms of less congestion and better air quality as well healthier and happier residents.

Dr Jimmy Walker, Chairman of COGS Salisbury

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