Cycling in my city: Cardiff

Julian Langston Cardiff Cycling Campaign member and Sustrans volunteer

Cardiff is a compact city, it is probably about six miles from end to end, it’s not hilly and there are three rivers going through it. The River Taff runs through the city centre, the Taff Trail providing a backbone route which joggers, walkers, leisure and commuting cyclists use. There is also a policy of ‘ignoring’ cycling in parks, so cyclists can use those to get around.

The aim of the general road layout is aimed at maintaining traffic flow, and cycling is marginal to that. The council have had similar [cycling] targets for years and they don’t seem to be closer to achieving them.

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The council cycling officer left last autumn and whether they will be replaced remains to be seen. The old cycling officer found it very frustrating; she was one of the better ones and did achieve things, but often they get bogged down in one way or another.

Generally, the council makes the right noises, but their processes are so that when things go onto the ground they have been altered beyond recognition. If it is anything off-road then barriers, in the name of safety, are used in such a way that they can be more dangerous.

                  “We see quite a range of cyclists”

They seem to be done by people who don’t understand cycling, and when there are major redesigns, like Cardiff Bay, cycling is seen as an add-on, if they can be bothered.

The council is keen to put cycling on the pavement, as an easy option. In some places that is appropriate, in other cases less so; shared pavement cycle paths are generally well signed but not where they end, and so people stay on the pavement, especially if it is a busy road.

We see quite a range of cyclists; you see quite a lot without lights and a lot who go through red traffic lights. I think that is pretty common across the country, and often used as an excuse: “Why should we spend money on cyclists when they break the law?”

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