Growing support for city’s cycling charter

MORE than 350 people and almost 60 organisations have signed the Winchester Cycling Charter, launched by Cycle Winchester one month ago.

The charter has attracted a broad alliance of cyclists, businesses, professional organisations and leading players in the fields of health, faith and education.

The Charter calls on community leaders to make better provision for cycling as a way of travelling round the city.

“It 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 help make it a safe and practical way to get around Winchester.”

Alex Fitzgerald-Barron, clinical director of Winchester City Primary Care Network, said: “It wasn’t a difficult decision for us to get behind the charter. We are in the midst of a health crisis - both physical and mental. Enabling more people to cycle is a win-win – it improves our mental and physical well-being whilst also reducing the harm from breathing polluted air.”

Sarah Duck, headteacher of St Bede Primary School, added: “No-one will have missed the increased number of very young cyclists and families venturing out onto the streets during lockdown. I would love to see safer streets so that more parents would see cycling as an obvious option for the school run. It would be a great investment in our children’s futures.”

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.

Reports show that walking and cycling improvements can increase retail spend by up to 30 per cent and that cyclists typically visit high streets 50 per cent more times than drivers.

“Internet shopping and the Covid pandemic have created exceptional pressures on the High Street”, comments Mike Fowkes of Kingsgate Books and Prints. “It is more important than ever to enhance our city centres, to create attractive spaces to visit, shop and spend time in. Making Winchester easier to cycle around is part of that improvement. It also helps keep the streets moving for essential journeys.”

The aim of the charter is to show that the majority of people in Winchester support moves to make it more cycling-friendly. They want to persuade the city and county councils to make decisions that deliver this better future for everyone.

“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 travel.

The Charter is open to organisations and individuals to sign: see .