‘Culture change’ call for cycling in Cardiff

14 November 2017

The co-founder of a Cardiff cycling campaign group says a culture change is needed from motorists towards cyclists.But Gwenda Owen, from Cardiff Cycle City has praised an initiative from South Wales Police that aims to protect cyclists from dangerous driving.

Operation Close Pass is a scheme where plain-clothed police on bikes equipped with video cameras can radio ahead to colleagues if they spot dangerous motorists.

“It’s a relatively low cost initiative that raises awareness among motorists about the impact that driving too close to cars can have,” said Ms Owen.

West Midlands Police started the scheme and say it has reduced the number of cyclists being killed or seriously injured by a fifth.

There are now 22 police forces involved across the UK.

Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales says the scheme will be in place by the New Year.

But Ms Owen says more needs to be done to improve cycling in Cardiff.

She says cyclists are seen as “getting in the way” and often get abuse from motorists.

Ms Owen says that a “them and us” attitude between cyclists and drivers means many cyclists do not feel safe on the roads.

A survey released by sustainable transport charity Sustrans says only 34% of people think cycling in Cardiff is safe.

Close Pass needs to be accompanied by better infrastructure and an increase in prosecutions if cycling culture is to change, according to Ms Owen.

“In cultures where there is a good relationship between cyclists and motorists, it’s where people ride bikes”.

At the moment just 7% of people cycle to work in Cardiff.

Cardiff City Council say they are planning to build two “cycle super-highways” which would reduce congestion and help people be more active.

Cardiff City Council leader Huw Thomas says he wants 50% of journeys to be made by bike, foot or public transport by 2021.

Share this article