With the first warm sunny days of the year, it’s only natural that many people want to enjoy the fresh air, and see Darlington at its best. Cycling to work, school or to the shops is an obvious way to do this, without having to think about making an extra effort outside our usual routines. What’s more, it saves us money, keeps us fit, and is often quicker for short in-town journeys than any other means of transport. So why do so few Darlingtonians cycle?
Numerous studies from around the world show that people only take up cycling as a means of everyday transport when they feel safe, when cycling is convenient and practical, and when it is what their friends and neighbours do. In other words, when it is “normal”. We at Darlovelo are doing our best to help people achieve this. So this spring we are putting extra efforts into expanding our fleet of hire bicycles to include a new range of family accessories. These are designed to help you move around by bicycle with your children, or get your kids into cycling themselves.
In today’s less-than-perfect conditions, getting your children cycling means they need to learn to deal with what can at times be a difficult cycling environment. So in this issue of our newsletter, we feature an article about the kind of cycle training on offer in the town.
But ultimately, cycling conditions need to be more attractive, so we are also campaigning for better cycling infrastructure. We know that most potential cyclists are traffic-averse, and would rather use quiet streets and separated cycle paths. Darlington made a start with 6 years of Cycling Demonstration Town efforts. More needs to be done, much more. Everyday cycling is clearly not yet “normal” in Darlington, when so many of those responsible for cycling policy do not even cycle themselves. But with initiatives like the All Party Parliamentary Enquiry into Cycling, and Mayor Boris Johnson’s bold proposals for London, the time for change could well be approaching.
Meanwhile, we need a strong membership to help campaign for more progress. We hope that you’ll show your support for a cycling-friendly Darlington and join us.