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NEW CYCLING SCHEME FOR CARDIFF | FEATURE

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Cardiff City Council have vowed to take cycling seriously, and they are going to have to if they are going to reach their target of 50% of all journeys to made by walking, cycling and public transport by 2021, rising to 60% by 2026 when the population of Cardiff is looking to reach nearly 800,000. After a year-long consultation, the City Council have now drawn up a plan so that they can make sure that Cardiff is “a city where cycling is a normal and practical choice for short trips for people of all ages and abilities”. They hope to do this by creating a network of cycle routes that weave their way across the city, so everyone can get where they need safely and efficiently.

Earlier this year, Cardiff Council launched a competition to name the network and the winning name was Enfys, the Welsh word for rainbow. This theme will be carried throughout the whole network with each of the key routes colour coded to show cyclists the way. The hope is that the main routes of Ely Trail, Taff Trail, Rhymney Trail and Bay Trail will connect to other areas such as St Fagans, Fairwater, Llandaff, Ty-Glas, Heath and Rumney.

These convenient paths will hopefully quiet critics of the council for not bringing back the Boris Bikes-style cycle hire scheme, which was unsuccessfully trialled in 2011. More importantly, it also signifies a real change in attitudes as the council are making healthier, cleaners journeys and lives, easier for everyone to achieve.

After consultation with public and cycling groups, the council created a new Cycle Design Guide outlining their plans for how cycling facilities should be designed, which has received the seal of approval from Sustrans and the Cardiff Cycle Campaign group. The council’s ambitious plan does not only stretch out to the cycle paths but includes initiatives to improve access to bicycles, cycle parking, cycle training and education.

And this celebration of cycling is already coming into fruition: work on the new cycle network has now begun with Route 3 along Newport Road. Nextbike, which operates cycling schemes around the world, has been selected to run the public bike hire scheme, which is hoped to become available by autumn 2017.

Info: www.nextbike.co.uk

words ELOUISE HOBBS

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