Chairman's Letter

Chairman’s Letter, Spring 2024


Dear RCC members

Sometimes when you sit down to write a piece, you have to scratch your head and search for a topic to discuss. At other times, events overtake you and the piece starts to write itself. This is one of those times.

A few days ago, just before midnight a young man was knocked from his bike and killed on Addington Road just around the corner from my house. We hear that the police are treating it as murder and that a man has been arrested.

Until we know more about this terrible incident, we will not be able to tell whether the well documented problems for cyclists in the hospital area were contributory, but RCC has road safety as its highest priority, and we will be following any developments very closely.

Looking back on 2023, it seems that the promise of better facilities for cyclists have not yet come to fruition. The improvements to the Redlands Road traffic calming scheme have not happened although promised for last Spring.

The Shinfield Road scheme has come to a halt as it seems the money has run out. The signage has not been put in place for the sections that have been completed and we have had meetings with Council officers to suggest what signs might best be used.

The proposed secure cycle parking facility has also been abandoned and as far as we can see no further progress is likely. Your committee members will have brought up these matters at the RBC Cycle Forum in February and will report back in the next issue.

As I am sure you will remember, Cllr. John Ennis addressed our AGM in October and introduced the Council’s Climate and Transport Strategy 2040.

As part of the consultation process, the RCC sent in a formal response which is available on our website, and with the upcoming local elections in mind, we invited Councillors from opposition parties to our last open meeting to give their point of view.    

A big thank you goes to committee member Tony Carr, who started off the debate with a very clear summary of the strategy document and the issues it raises for cycling. Thanks also go to Rob White of the Greens, James Moore from Reading LibDems, and Al Neal from Wokingham LibDems, who as Councillors deal with these issues every day. 

It was a very well attended meeting with 25 people in the room and several more online. It was a shame the global café bar is no longer open so we could repair there afterwards.

My main take away from the meeting for the campaign are two key questions. The first is how, given the very limited funds available either locally or centrally, can we do more for less and what quick wins will get more people cycling more safely?

The second is, what leverage does the cycling community really have over Council decisions and how can we, as it was neatly put at the meeting, hold our Councillors’ feet to the fire?

Please feel free to use our website or Facebook page to carry on this debate, and keep an eye on our new website calendar which publicises relevant events in one place.

Joe Edwards
RCC Chairman

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