How to campaign for better and safer cycling routes in South Yorkshire
We know that cycling is great for the planet and for our communities. Imagine how different our neighbourhoods could be if they were free from traffic congestion, noise and air pollution! To create a society where cycling is safe, easy and convenient, we need help from our local council to provide accessible cycling routes. If you’d like to connect with organisations who are campaigning for change, you’re in the right place.
Why is cycling good for the environment and our communities?
It was reported that transport is the largest emitting sector of greenhouse gas emissions, producing 27% of the UK’s total emissions in 2019. Cars and taxis made up 61% of the emissions from road transport. We also know that air pollution caused by vehicle emissions tends to be higher in cities and towns, where road traffic is concentrated, because when we drive, greenhouse gases (which contribute to global warming!) are released into the atmosphere. When we choose to walk or cycle instead of driving, these emissions are directly reduced.
Imagining a world with fewer cars and more people walking and cycling helps us to think about the ways that our local councils can work to redesign our cities and towns with sustainable transport in mind. When more people start to cycle and walk, rather than driving, we will need more traffic-free green spaces to accommodate this. These green spaces would be beneficial for our environment, if they are filled with trees and other plants, which absorb carbon dioxide from the air. Better air quality will have a positive impact on our individual health, as well as the health of others in our communities.
Why do we need support in making cycling safer?
There are social barriers that many marginalised groups and individuals face when it comes to cycling. When building a more sustainable world, we need to ensure that everyone can equally participate in society, including in cycling. For example, it has been reported that many people, especially women, think that it is too dangerous for them to cycle. Creating safe cycling infrastructure is a crucial step in making us all feel more confident about getting out on our bikes and making a positive impact on the environment.
We need our local politicians to prioritise greener transport methods, from improving trains, trams and buses, to making our cities and towns more welcoming to cyclists and walkers. Whether it’s connecting existing cycling routes or building new ones, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to make cycling accessible for everyone who wants to give it a go.
How can you help improve cycling for everyone in South Yorkshire?
One of the best ways to get involved is to connect with other people who are interested in building and improving cycling infrastructure. We can achieve more when we work together, so why not get involved with one of our partner organisations?
Sustrans have a vision for a society where the way we travel creates healthier places and happier lives for everyone. Their mission is to make it easier for people to walk and cycle. They are also responsible for the National Cycle Network, a UK-wide network of traffic-free paths for everyone, connecting cities, towns and countryside. They cover the South Yorkshire region, and you can find out more about volunteering here.
Cycle Sheffield campaign for a cycle friendly Sheffield where anyone can choose to make their journey by bike. They want cycling to be inclusive and easy, not limited to the quick and the brave. Volunteers are always welcome in working towards a comprehensive and high-quality cycle network. You don’t need to be a cycling expert to help; you just need to have an interest and a desire to change things. Find out more about volunteering here.
Links and resources:
Our partners Hope for the Future provide training and resources on how to lobby your local councillors and politicians on climate issues. Perhaps you could ask them about cycling? Campaigner workbooks — Hope for the Future (hftf.org.uk)
To learn more about the barriers to cycling faced by many Black, Asian and ethnic minority people: Barriers to cycling for ethnic minorities and deprived groups (tfl.gov.uk)
It has been recommended that ‘’recognising cycling as a key strength/ability for people with physical disabilities will lead to greater equality and improve the lives and experiences of disabled people.’’ Read more about disability and cycling here.
Cycle Sheffield campaign for a cycle friendly Sheffield where anyone can choose to make their journey by bike. They want cycling to be inclusive and easy, not limited to the quick and the brave.