Hayling campaigners urge MP to raise awareness of cycling needs for schoolchildren
CAMPAIGNERS took the opportunity to show their MP all that Hayling Island had to offer for young cyclists.
Havant MP Alan Mak rode out around the island with two members of the Cycle Hayling group.
Committee member David Mowatt, who leads the educational activity of the group, invited Mr Mak in a bid to ‘raise awareness for safer cycling around Hayling’, particularly for children.
He said: ‘Alan came to one our meetings last year, and expressed an interest in our aims to improve safer cycling on Hayling Island.
‘It was a good chance to chat with Alan about our masterplan in terms of linking up most of the paths on Hayling so that most children can go to school without having to use the roads, therefore cutting down on congestion.
‘I want children to be able to cycle safely to school, and it’s not particularly easy for them at the moment.’
At Mill Rythe Infant and Junior Schools, 79 per cent of pupils are currently driven to school.
Cycle Hayling is aiming to convert two footpaths into shared cycleways, before linking them to the campus via the successful ‘Footpath 88’.
David, alongside fellow member Wilf Farrow, said that these measures will enable ‘full safer cycling for the east and south of Hayling’.
David, who moved to the island in 2009, said: ‘When I moved to Hayling, I wanted my daughter to be able to cycle to school, but I soon realised that it was far too dangerous on the roads.
‘Everyone from teachers to parents to councillors has been very supportive, but like with everything, there’s clinch points such as funding. It’s not an overnight process.
‘Hopefully Alan will be able to influence the right people to help us.’
Mr Mak said: ‘I enjoyed the cycle ride, which was interesting and fun.
‘I’m active across Hayling Island so I know the area well but it was good to see familiar sights from a bike and get some fresh air!
‘Helping more children and students ride to school and college is a good idea.
‘I’ll work with Cycle Hayling, Havant Borough and Hampshire County Councils and local landowners to do all we can to turn this vision into reality.’