Campaign group Cycle Winchester has launched its ‘Winchester Cycling Charter’ and is inviting local businesses, organisations and residents to sign their names to it.
The charter calls on community leaders to make better provision for cycling as a way of travelling round the city.
“The charter isn’t anti-car,” says organiser John Arthur of Cycle Winchester. “Most cyclists are drivers as well, but we’d just like to see changes that encourage more cycling and make it a practical, healthy and environmentally-friendly way to get around Winchester. More people cycling means less motor traffic and safer streets for everyone, whether they cycle or not. The charter aims to show that the people of Winchester will support moves to make it more cycling-friendly.”
A number of local organisations have already signed the charter pre-launch, ranging from retailers like Warren & Son and P&G Wells bookshop, through the Brooks Centre and property company Belgarum to the Hampshire Hospitals Trust.
Toscanaccio Wine & Food in Parchment Street is one of the early signers. “I’m not a cyclist,” says owner Cat Brandwood, “but I do want to see better provision for non-car travel into Winchester.”
Studies have found that by encouraging cycling and walking, cities can boost trade in local shops, reduce traffic congestion and improve health.
The Charter sets out a vision of a Winchester where children can safely cycle to school, people can cycle to work, residents can ride their bikes to the shops, pubs and leisure venues, and people of all ages and abilities feel confident to be on the roads. It calls on the city and county councils to make decisions that will deliver this better future for everyone in Winchester.
“Signing the Charter doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything we suggest,” says John, “just that you agree with the general principle of boosting cycling to benefit the city’s health and economy.”
Cycle Winchester is best known for its “Mass Rides”, but behind the scenes it campaigns to ensure that new developments in the area make provision for cycling as a means of transport and travel.
See winchestercyclingcharter.org.uk to sign up.