Posted: 20.05.20 at 14:33 by Julie Wright
In recent weeks it has been so lovely to share the lanes with walkers and cyclists of all ages, to see families having the confidence to take their little ones out on their bikes and scooters.
Department for Transport figures have previously suggested that throughout England, 61 per cent of adults said they thought it was too dangerous for them to cycle on the roads, let alone take their children out.
As people return to their cars, and sadly in Mendip this equates to 89 per cent of workers using a car or van, we have the opportunity to designate some roads and lanes for non-motorised traffic.
We all know that walking and cycling is hugely beneficial for our physical and mental health. If we were not aware before this pandemic, research has shown that polluted, toxic air is an added hazard to our well-being.
It is also, of course, devastating for the natural environment, for plants and animals, in fact, for the very future of our planet.
With the announcement by the UK government of a £2 billion investment to improve facilities for cycling and walking, including £250 million for immediate enhancements in response to Covid-19, this is the ideal time for us to put forward suggestions to make a real difference to Wells.
Wells is an ideal size for getting around on foot or on a bike, and the countryside just beyond could be even more wonderful without the threat of the motor vehicle whizzing round the corner.
Some other beautiful places around the world already play to their strengths: Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Taipei, Vancouver, Vienna, Bogata are all in the top 20 bike-friendliest places on the planet.
Wells would be so well placed to invite tourists back as the pedestrian-friendly, bike-friendly smallest English city when it is safe to do so, and goodness knows our tourist industry is going to need all the help it can get.
Please, please use this opportunity and contribute to making the roads and lanes of Wells safer and healthier, for now and the future.
Email your support and suggestions to Alyn Jones, the Somerset County Council economic and community infrastructure operations director at [email protected] and Wells county councillor Tessa Munt at [email protected]
By Julie Wright