Council board to be introduced to oversee cycling strategy 

 getSURREY

‘Senior representation’ could be brought in after a petition called for the county council to make towns and villages safer for pedestrians and cyclists

Cycling through Dorking. Pic: Mole Valley District Council

A cycling board will be established by Surrey County Council to roll out its cycling strategy across the county.

‘Senior representation’ could be brought in to oversee the strategy, which was established in 2014, according to Councillor Mike Goodman who revealed the plans as part of a petition response this week.

More than 100 people backed a petition set up by Victoria Leake, from Haslemere, calling on the county council to make towns and villages safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

The petition said: “Surrey County Council has the highest number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in the whole of England and is fourth highest for pedestrian fatalities of any highway authority.

“Pedestrians spend more per week than any other shopper. One in five cars on the road at morning peak traffic times are taking children to school, contributing to congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions.

“With school pupil numbers projected to rise year on year, the school run is expected to have an increasingly negative impact on congestion.

“One in three children leaves primary school either overweight or obese. Inactivity is costing the Primary Care Trust in England in excess of £940 million a year.

“We petition SCC senior leadership team to make our towns and villages safer for pedestrian and cyclists and to stop prioritising the car over other road users.

“We ask that they look at best practice outside their own county.”

The cycling strategy, which went to public consultation in late 2013, drew criticism for plans to close off roads for the annual Ride London-Surrey event.

It also intended to make bicycles a priority at some difficult junctions, improve the cycle lanes and toucan crossings and add cycle parking to towns.

The petition was heard by the cabinet member for environment and planning, who has sought to reassure cyclists that measures are in place to improve road safety in the county.

Cllr Goodman said: “The county council will continue to work with colleagues in public health, boroughs and districts and other partners to support more walking and cycling through the continued implementation of the above policies and initiatives.

“We will continue to seek opportunities to bid for more money for more transport schemes that will incorporate improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as training and promotional activity to encourage more people to cycle.

“We will continue to review and learn from best practice from other authorities and to adopt an evidence-based approach to the development of our activities.”

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