There are always alternative options to the way we travel, that we may not always stop and think about utilising. Cycling in particular can be especially appealing; it can be a great way to see some of the scenery around the country, as well as being a healthier alternative to other modes of transport. It seems that boosting the facilities to make cycling more common has been raised in Wales and as such, Assembly Ministers have now passed a landmark law that will require Welsh councils to increase the amount of walking and cycling networks that they create. Local authorities will be required to:
The introduction of this Act should hopefully start to encourage more people to cycle or walk instead of using their car, and the health benefits of making this change is extremely valuable. Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support charities recently released the ‘Walking Walks’ report, explaining how the simple act of walking could transform peoples’ lives and health for the better. You can read more about this story on our news page here.
Policy and Advocacy Manager for the British Heart Foundation Cymru, Delyth Lloyd said the act “will help make cycling and walking to work and school even easier, and it is an important step towards helping people in Wales get more active.”
By introducing new and better routes, the appeal to cycling should hopefully become more apparent. Cyclists will be able to experience the scenery around their area, and engage with different travelling alternatives that they can continue to adopt into their everyday routines. It is not only a cheaper alternative, but it can also be more convenient, meaning you can avoid that morning rush of traffic into work or school. However, commutes to work aside, cycling can be more than just a form of transport. It can be a hobby, or a way to simply get out for some fresh air. Wales is known for its stunning landscapes and picturesque scenery; the introduction of new and improved cycle routes will mean that more of our surroundings can be discovered. Making it easier to walk and cycle is certainly an aspect that should see more people engaging with this form of transport. This can particularly be of benefit to parents and families, who may be encouraged by the practicality of the routes and also their safety.
Cyclist in Cardiff
Though concerns have been raised that its effectiveness will be limited by a lack of commitment to direct funding for councils to implement any plans. However, the Welsh Government insists that £12m is already available for funding such routes.
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson on transport, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas said “Making cycling and walking the most desirable form of short journeys would have a major impact on the health of the population and on reducing congestion."
There are many significant advantages to improving the cycling and walking facilities within the country, not only for our own health, but the health of the countryside around us. By considering more sustainable forms of travel, the decreased amount of congestion from traffic will have a positive impact on the surroundings, with reduced pollution levels. This new Act is a step in the right direction towards enticing people to become involved with alternative forms of transportation that should hopefully see a positive impact on not only our health, but the way we engage with our surroundings.