ORGANISING a round-the-city cycle ride is the best way to get people back on their bikes.
That’s the view of Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, who wants to organise an annual event in a bid to help tackle congestion.
As reported in The News, a new strategy for cycling was launched in Portsmouth earlier this week.
The aim is to get more people interested in cycling for leisure, in the hope it will encourage them to leave their cars at home and cycle to work.
And Cllr Jones came up with the idea of a closed-road bike ride around the city.
She said: ‘We need to do something bigger to get people to get on to a bike for the first time in years.
‘We need to educate people about how to get to and from the shops, or a friend’s house or work.
‘We want to go big on this. The council has money set aside to increase the number of bikes available for hire across the city.
‘One of the things we would like to do is to set up a round the city bike ride.
‘People will start to find the safe routes around the city. People that have never cycled along there will start to do it.’
The strategy was unveiled to city leaders at the University of Portsmouth earlier in the week.
It was inspired after the city was gridlocked in August following a lorry fire on the A27.
Jon Spencer, chairman of the Portsmouth Cycle Forum has put the strategy together.
He said: ‘Organised bike rides in a safe, closed-road environment are a great way to reconnect people with cycling.
‘Once they have done that they are more likely to consider a bike as a way to get around.
‘We would support anything like that.
‘There are some quite big organised bike rides around the city already but they are on open roads so the idea of having a closed-road event is absolutely brilliant.
‘I am 100 per cent behind that.
‘It would be really fantastic to see.’
The delivery of the strategy will be divided into five key areas: safety, transport, equality, leisure and planning.
It will include looking at where new bike lanes can be put in, creating a cycle safety action plan and promoting regular events to encourage people to cycle for leisure.
It will be overseen by a cross-party sustainable transport working team that will report to Cllr Jones.