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The Butterfly Bridge along The Embankment is to be closed to pedestrians and cyclists from Monday 9 January 2023 for up to four months to enable refurbishment to take place. The alternative route is via the White Bridge at the eastern end of The Embankment.
2023 is likely to bring an even greater urgency for us all to take action to help reduce global emissions and our living costs.
One way to do this is for all motorists to consider avoiding the use of their car, even an e-car, for at least some trips and to walk or cycle short distances and cycle or walk in conjunction with public transport for longer journeys. [Between 1 January and 31 March 2023 all single bus fares on Stagecoach and UNO buses are fixed at £2].
Cycling is fun - good for your health - great for your fitness - fastest mode of transport for door to door short journeys - environmentally friendly - saves money on parking and fuel.
It offers mobility for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities and creates safer and more pleasant streets.
2022 has not been a particularly good year for people or cycling.
It has seen us getting ever near the point of no return for the climate with every country at some point having been adversely affected by heat, wildfires, floods or droughts. On top of this we also have a cost of living crisis with ever increasing food, energy and transport costs as well as some people still being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In terms of cycling CCNB counts showed a 13% average increase over last year to Bedford town centre due to the end of lockdowns but with the PSPO cycle ban and major store closures this is still only 54% of the average seen in 2017. Counts at the railway station were much better at 121% higher as more people started to go back to work but this was still only 45% of those seen in 2017.
During the year the government issued its cycling statistics for 2021. For Bedford Borough these mirrored the CCNB results for that year and disappointingly placed it only just above average for the UK when previously it had been in the upper quartile.
In the meantime CCNB would like to wish all Bedford Borough current and potential cyclists a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The segregated two-way cycle track along Goldington Road between Perkins Road and Norse Road has now been completed for just over 12 months with a remedy of the unprotected steep drop to the 40mph plus busy main road still outstanding.
This year's European Mobility Week takes place from 16 to 22 September 2022 with the theme 'Connections'- People, Places, Packages, Planning and Policy.
To date 47 countries involving 2758 cities/towns participated in the week but only 6 from the UK; Sunderland, York, Birminham, Suffolk, Swindon and Lonon Borough of Lambeth.
A video promoting the event can be seen here.
Full information can be found on the Mobility Week website.
During 2021 all of Bedford's cycle network has been signposted using £380,000 of the £1m grant awarded to Bedford from the government’s town deal accelerator fund. Each junction has a finger post showing the the route number. Only the beginning and end of the routes give an indication of their destination.
The Borough’s published network is basically a dual network with routes varying in type and purpose from
• quieter more safer routes using paths and mainly 20mph residential roads for new/less confident cyclists
• fast direct routes using main roads for experienced/confident cyclists willing to share their ride with fast and sometimes heavy traffic.
In the revamped High Street near Mill Street and also at the junction with St Peter's Green and The Embankment information boards have been erected with a map of the town centre as seen in other parts of the central area but also showing the number of each cycle route starting from the town centre.
At CCNB's request the words 'Bedford Cycle Network' have now been added down the sides of each board following the loss on the majority of residents (and visitors) even those who are already cyclists as to the meaning of each number quoted.
"CCNB has published a short video describing the current network.
With the cost of living and particularly energy bills rising one way to save money is to cycle (or walk) that short distance to work, shops, leisure facilities and the railway station. This will at the same time help to save the planet from irreversible climate change, reduce pollution and congestion and improve your health. With spring, better weather and lighter nights just around the corner there is no better time to start if only at the beginning for just one day a week.
Public Spaces and Protection Orders (PSPOs) were introduced in 2014 under the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, to enable Councils to prohibit certain types of subversive behavior within a geographically defined area that are detrimental to the local community’s quality of life.
Bedford Borough Council’s introduced its first three year PSPO in June 2016 to restrict cycling in the town centre between 0900 and 1800 hrs. This was followed by a second one which expires in June 2022.
The Council is considering to introduce a new (third) PSPO for a further three years to include the existing cycling restrictions and additional restrictions on e-scooter use and skate boarding so enable it to continue to take action against those individuals that commit this anti-social behaviour to ensure Bedford is a safe and enjoyable place to live, work and visit.
A consultation posing three questions on these restrictions was held between 1 December 2021 and 4 January 2022. See https://bit.ly/3qGo9hn
At the Borough's Executive meeting on Wednesday 2 March 2022 the decision was taken to extend the ban by a further three years.
Cycling Campaign for North Bedfordshire wishes all Bedford Borough current and potential cyclists a Happy New Year and the hope that 2022 will be a better year than 2021.
Apart from the continuing threat of further mutations of the Covid-19 virus the major crisis of our time is the continued warming of the planet which if not suppressed will change the way of life of everybody forever.
At the 2015 United Nations Climate Change conference in Paris (COP21) it was agreed to keep global average temperatures below 2˚C, preferable below 1.5˚C, above pre-industrial levels to prevent an irreversible catastrophe. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report states that current actions will exceed these levels by the end of the century and we only have until the end of the decade to take the necessary stronger actions to prevent irreversible changes
It will be huge challenge. Actions of governments were ratified at the November 2021 COP26 conference in Glasgow. Yet the greatest threat is the belief that these actions inconjunction with local authorities is all that is necessary. The truth is that everyone, including all residents, MUST do their bit no matter how small.
The latest (2019) local authority emission figures for carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming, show that although total emissions in Bedford Borough have fallen by 34% since 2005 the main sector is still transport at 41% of the total.
CCNB appeals to all residents in 2022 to do what as much as they can to reduce their carbon emissions and when travelling to use more sustainable modes, cycling and walking for short journeys and public transport inconjunction with cycling and walking for longer distances.
Cycling and walking alone will not solve the problem but will go a long way to help as well as giving the added benefit of better health through increased physical activity and a reduced level of toxic air pollution. For those residents that have to continue to drive there will be less congestion.