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‘People want to ride their bikes’ says West Sussex Cycle Forum as they call for urgent action

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The West Sussex Cycle Forum says a surge in cycling since the COVID-19 lockdown began has led to them calling for the resulting health and other benefits to be sustained in a ‘two-wheeled revolution‘ when life begins to return to normal.

The West Sussex Cycle Forum (WSCF) believes that the current emergency has provided few benefits, but one of them is the increase in people now cycling on our roads and cycle paths.   

They say that with fewer cars on the roads this has reduced the perceived fear, and the actual risk, of conflict between people on bikes and people in vehicles.    They also say that bike shops reported record levels of repairs being done on bikes rescued from sheds and garages.

In a statement the forum said:

“There is an immediate and urgent need to keep people safe as they ride a bike, but still be socially distanced.   The WHO recommends cycling as the best way to travel short essential distances and maintain social distancing.   At the Government coronavirus briefing on May 6th, the Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, included more space for safe cycling in his aims for recovery.   Cycling can help relieve the pressure on public transport, and therefore make social distancing easier; but as the lockdown is gently lifted, and public transport is shunned, once again, bike riding will be in conflict with vehicles.  

Local authorities can, and must, respond with quick action – pop up cycle lanes, revised on street parking, cycling contraflows, closing certain streets to motorised vehicles.”

Forum chair Geoff Farrell said:

“The WSCF believes that there is now an unprecedented opportunity to capitalise on the surge in cycling – and we press local authorities in West Sussex to use their new and existing powers to increase road space for cycling and to respond positively to all the surveys that show that people want to cycle more.   Our councils must acknowledge that their policies – to reach cycling targets and carbon emissions targets by specific dates – are doomed to failure without radical intervention.    Cycling UK, Sustrans and British Cycling are being proactive in this and the WSCF totally supports their actions.   

It is within our collective power to address the underlying health issues that are already a cause of premature deaths, and are now contributing to COVID 19 mortality rates.   Turning the response to COVID 19 into long-term action to reduce the need to travel by car, to promote active travel, and at the same time improve air quality, will help to take the pressure off the NHS for everyone.” 

The WSCF is now calling on West Sussex County Council (WSCC) to urgently review its policies and hope they will respond positively which they say will: satisfy the public’s desire to ride their bikes; to realise the enormous benefits of a healthier populace and to slow down the harmful effects of global warming.

Charity

Gatwick Fire Service to run marathon on airports runway for charity

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It will consist of running 13 lengths of the 3.3km main runway, but WHite Watch Gatwick Fire Service hope to raise money for local hospital charity (SASH).

Taking place on Sunday 14th June, the crew will be running the 13 lengths as a relay, with the final distance being just over that of a marathon.

Taking advantage of the lack of flow during periods of the day, they will use those opportunities to ‘do something different and raise awareness for our local NHS staff putting themselves on the line every day during this pandemic’.

The money will help the staff at East Surrey Hospital and Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust during the Covid 19 situation.

If you would like to help with a donation you can do so at their JustGiving page here.

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