MORE Wiltshire people should be replacing short car trips with bicycle journeys, county planners believe.
A report says 40 per cent of Wiltshire commuters live within cycling distance of work, but only three per cent cycle.
Since only 10 per cent walk and two per cent take the bus, the report’s author, senior transport planner Heather Blake, concludes: “It’s clear that there are a large proportion of journeys that could switch from car to cycle.”
The report, part of Wiltshire Council’s proposed Local Transport Plan covering the years to 2026, was considered by the cabinet on Tuesday after going out for public consultation last year. It covers cycling, motorcycling and sustainable transport schemes such as car-sharing.
It says Salisbury has areas where between six and nine per cent of people cycle to work, which is relatively high.
It proposes the council looks at providing cycle paths shared with pedestrians, disabled people and horse-riders where possible and safe. In rural areas, the council should consider removing stiles to improve access and allowing cyclists to use footways that are below standard width, if pedestrian use is very limited.
The report also recommends investigating electric bike hire as part of the general promotion of cycling in order to reduce pollution and boost health, particularly among the quarter of the Wiltshire population thought to be obese. It says motorcycle and scooter use on A roads and the M4 went up by 28 per cent in Wiltshire between 2001 and 2011.
However, weekday trips into the main towns went down. To facilitate motorcycle use and reduce injuries and congestion, the plan is to consider allowing motorcycles to use suitable bus lanes. The council will also remove or reduce road features and signs that can be a hazard to motorcyclists and “seek to provide adequate levels of secure parking”.
Initiatives to cut carbon emissions and make transport more “sustainable” include workplace car-sharing. The report quotes Porton Down as an example, where car-sharing increased from nine per cent to 22 per cent between 2007 and 2011. The final Local Transport Plan will need to be approved by the full council.