What is Active Travel? It basically means getting from A to B using your own muscle power, and usually refers to walking and wheeling, thus reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Most people would like to make changes to reduce their carbon emissions, and doing more active travel can be a  big step on the way to not just a greener but a healthier lifestyle too.

Walking and using a bike to reach regular destinations is a great way to build more exercise into your routine, with the direct benefits not only to your own health but also to others through improvements in air quality.

As more housing developments come forward in and around Salisbury, active travel has a huge potential to reduce congestion and the number of parked vehicles clogging up the city centre.

Did you know that Salisbury’s Park and Ride car parks are free to use?

From there you can either pay for the bus, or ride or even walk into the centre for nothing. Using a bike allows you to quickly move around the city centre with your shopping to different destinations, chaining your bike near to the shops and services you need to visit, in a mode delightfully named “daisy-chaining”.

There are currently more than 600 cycle parking spaces at over 50 locations in the city but of course, there is always scope for more.

At the present time, there are many barriers to active travel, ranging from poor weather to safety concerns, and this series of articles will discuss many of these barriers and how we can best deal with them.

Some, such as how to carry stuff around, can be addressed by buying the right equipment and clothing, others will need a bit more willpower and a positive attitude! Personally, I found that the best way to improve my active travel was to aim to always walk or cycle to a particular destination near to home so that it becomes a habit.

Initially, this was my children’s primary school which is about 10 to 15 minutes’ walk from home. Walking saved the hassle and potential dangers of parking near the school and the children never complained about the walk, it was just the way we got to school most days.

The hardest barriers to tackle are those which require changes to the transport infrastructure. The Cycling Opportunities Group for Salisbury (COGS), Salisbury’s own cycle campaigning group, has been working towards small improvements for nearly 30 years, but there’s still a long way to go before active travel in Salisbury is the norm.

Research shows that more people want to cycle and would do so if there were safer segregated paths away from traffic. It will be interesting to see how the plans for the Maltings develop, and how more traffic-free connections can be made between residential areas, schools, the city centre and places of work.

If you want to find out more about safe cycling in Salisbury, and how you can get back in the saddle or even want to walk more then please email me at:  cogsbike@gmail.com.

Paula Downard

Cycling Opportunities Group for Salisbury (COGS)