Cycling and walking in Cheshire East

Dear Editor,

One of my aims as a Cheshire East Councillor is to improve the safety of our roads.

Anybody in Cheshire East who has crossed roads and roundabout junctions will have either been tooted off the road, or not been ‘allowed’ to cross.

Significantly more light-controlled and zebra crossings around the borough are needed, reduced traffic light timings that prioritise pedestrians, many more dropped kerbs are needed especially for those who use mobility aids and to make life better for the residents of Cheshire East to feel safe in being active.

Each time a person is killed or seriously injured from a vehicle collision it spells heartbreak for those families; to endure pain so great is unimaginable.

Living with a life altering condition because somebody has driven a vehicle at excessive speeds, driving while influenced by drink or drugs, being careless or not paying attention, that their need to arrive to a destination is greater than your need to feel safe so it seems.

In my role as the cycling and walking champion I owe the borough’s residents to deliver on making our roads, footways, and cycle paths better and safer for everybody. And more bridleways too.

I assure you I am working as hard as possible to obtain funding for road crossings, segregated cycling infrastructure and all sorts of infrastructure improvements that will make our town safer and will encourage people to be more active and at the same time gradually reducing vehicle use, something we should all be aiming to do for short local journeys.

With the aim of trying to make our roads safer, it is with absolute delight that working with Cheshire Police road crimes unit we will be conducting the very first Close Pass event in December.

Every day five people are killed by a driver, one child every week, and 500 pedestrians every year are killed whilst walking on a pavement.

In Cheshire East 38 children were killed or seriously injured whilst cycling or walking, that is one child every six weeks.

Increasingly cyclist deaths are growing each year using Cheshire East roads, 3 cyclist deaths since June 2020.

When a vehicle close passes a cyclist, not only is it frightening and unnerving, the wind can make you wobble and fall off your bike into traffic or become involved in a collision or you might need to suddenly swerve around a deep pothole, puddle or dropped drain.

A heavy vehicle close passing is incredibly frightening. Feeling safe on our roads is the main reason people will not cycle.

If a driver gives a cyclist at least 1.5m when overtaking, the same as they would a vehicle, this consideration will make people feel safe cycling.

If there is not enough room to overtake, don’t overtake. Waiting behind a cyclist or a horse or a slow vehicle causes minimum delay to a journey, and it pays to wait until it is safe to overtake.

A huge thank you to Cheshire Police road crimes unit for organising the Close Pass initiative, and my gratitude to David Keane the PCC for engaging with Active Travel Congleton and Active Travel Crewe.

Yours sincerely,

CLLR SUZIE AKERS SMITH
Cycling and Walking Champion
Cheshire East Council

10 Comments

  1. Ben wye says:

    There are a lot of irresponsible road users along Nantwich road, in cars and on bikes. I was driving yesterday and a bloke all in back and no lights nearly went into me, but I also was overtaken by an audi while I stopped at the lights! Only one of them was likely to kill me.
    If you watch Mill st junction in the morning rush, a car goes through red northbound 7 /10 times, and although it has cameras nothing is done, and it’s a potential killer.

  2. Mr Grumpy says:

    It’s all very well asking drivers to exercise restraint but what if you’re stuck behind a cyclist who would most likely make quicker progress if they got off and walked. Or what about the cyclist who seem to think it’s OK to be riding against the direction of traffic in the dark, without any lights and wearing dark coloured clothing. Oh, wait a minute he was using the cycle lane so that must make it alright. And not forgetting the lad doing wheelies in the middle of the road for the amusement of himself and his mates.

    • Cllr Suzie Akers Smith says:

      Mr Grumpy, when you are stuck behind car, do you have the same view? As for cyclist behaviour, whether you are a driver or cyclist or both, if a cyclist behaviour is not as you would like, the life they are endangering is their own. Not many people who cycle survive a collision with a vehicle.
      If people choose to wear dark coloured clothing, do not use lights I don’t condone that behaviour, but all people can behave badly whether that is cycling as you describe, using a mobile phone whilst driving, driving through red lights. But always on a bike you are vulnerable. And the crux of it is, if more people cycled you wouldn’t be stuck in traffic, because there would be less traffic.

  3. Chris Moorhouse says:

    Des. The junction is a blind corner as on Eddleston Road the Lights are set back some 20 metres. You go on green and find cyclists and cars coming along Nantwich who clearly have gone through a red light. It happens a lot.
    The same applies with cars and bikes coming out of Eddleston Road onto Nantwich Road . Hope that explains it for you.

  4. Geoffrey Stockton says:

    I cycle but get annoyed by the people who don’t use the cycle paths

    • Cllr Suzie Akers Smith says:

      Dear Mr Stockton, thank you for commenting in response to my letter to the editor I have tweeted a reply in pictures which will explain why cyclists do not use cycle lanes @suzie_as

  5. Chris Moorhouse says:

    Cllr Smith. I support road safety but could I suggest you stand on the corner of Eddleston Road / Nantwich Road traffic lights and see what goes on.
    No doubt this applies to many other locations in CEC.

    • des thorley says:

      What actually does go on? don’t just leave it there, as it is not helping understand the issue really

    • Cllr Suzie Akers Smith says:

      I will observe the junction next time I am in Crewe and will contact Ben Wye at the Active Travel campaign group to look at what the problem is and to find a solution.

      I, as much I would to cannot stop people behaving as people. And yes, in other locations drivers and cyclists travel through red lights at the same rate. I can find the stats if you want them. But in a car you will probably be okay, maybe some whiplash. On a bike going through a red light, you are gambling with your life.

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