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Istead Rise
Friday, December 4, 2020

Giving a voice to all cyclists

The Tollgate interchange is used by most people in Istead Rise so I do not need to say just how dangerous it is for pedestrians and cyclists. The forum has been in contact with elected representatives putting forward particle changes that should be made to the interchange as a matter of urgency to avoid someone being killed.

The forum has responded to previous consultations on the lower Thames crossing highlighting problems with changes to cycling routes around the crossing. The forum is now gathering the views of cyclists for the latest consultation.

The interchange and the latest consultation on the proposed new Thames crossing are the subjects of the next Dartford and Gravesham cycling forum meeting on MONDAY 27th JULY 7pm. Unfortunately due to the Covid virus the meeting has to be done via Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting HERE

Meeting ID: 858 4081 9341

Password: 500038

The cycling forum is a lobby group for all cyclists regardless of what or how far they ride. It does not oppose or support any development but aims to promote cycling by making it safer.

Alex Hills
Chairman


 

Research has proven that cycling improves mental and physical wellbeing, whilst at the same time being good for the environment. It is also a great way to enjoy the countryside, and on short journeys (up to 3.5 miles) can be quicker than using a car. The government is now encouraging more journeys to be done by bicycles to reduce congestion and air pollution. If more journeys are to be done by bicycles, safety needs to be improved, which means physical separation between cyclist, pedestrians and motorists.

Photography courtesy of Alex Hills
Photography courtesy of Alex Hills

If more journeys are to be done by bicycles, safety needs to be improved, which means physical separation between cyclist, pedestrians and motorists.
If more journeys are to be done by bicycles, safety needs to be improved, which means physical separation between cyclist, pedestrians and motorists.

Three-way separation benefits everyone. Even though it does cost more, in the long run it gives better value for money. No motorist wants to be stuck behind a cyclist, no cyclist wants vehicles coming close to them and no pedestrian wants a cyclist going past them, as the speed difference can be startling. It is important that any cycling route is made safe enough for a parent to feel confident to ride it with a child so the route will get used by many riders. Making a cycle lane by just painting a white line on the road has proven to put cyclist in greater danger as, for some reason, motorists drive closer to cyclist when they are in a painted cycle lane. Rule 163 of the Highway code states, “give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car”. This is very vague, which is why cycling organisations are calling for a 1.5 minimum gap, the safe distance used in many other countries. 

From Istead Rise there are many safe cycling routes in the countryside. Since my wife’s death last year I have been finding many new routes. So why not explore what is on your doorstep the latest explore Kent maps contain some errors but will give you some ideas and it contains a link to find the shortest route for cycling here

Photography courtesy of Alex Hills
Photography courtesy of Alex Hills

Photography courtesy of Alex Hills
Photography courtesy of Alex Hills

To see other cycling routes in Kent try here

The Tollgate interchange and the A227 between Istead Rise and Meopham station are major barriers to cycling that CPRE Kent, and the Dartford and Gravesham cycling forum have been calling for action on for many years.

As someone who was born and lives in Istead Rise, I know just how amazing the people here can be. If you would like to help make cycling safer, please go to the Dartford and Gravesham cycling forum Facebook page here or contact CPRE Kent here.

It is important you tell your local KCC and GBC councillors how you think cycling could be made safer.

Cllr Dibben commented,
“Thank you Alex Hills for raising the importance of cycling. The suggestions Alex has raised about some issues regarding the safety of cyclists and the environmental benefits are extremely important. We as councillors (County and Ward) take this matter very seriously, working together to find solutions and make cycling a safer, more enjoyable form of transport for all within our communities”.

Thank you reading my article and your support is greatly appreciated.

Alex Hills

 

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