A meeting was held on Monday 24 October with about 30 people attending, to discuss the role of a Cycling Forum for Dundee, the benefits it could provide for cyclists, and how it should be set up. This was one of the recommendations arising out of the Dundee Cycling Strategy recently approved by the City Council, following a period of public consultation.
John Berry (Sustainable Transport officer) and John Whyman (Local Access Officer) were there from the Council, along with people involved in promoting active travel in schools, and others from Sustrans, CTC and local cycling clubs. Plus quite a few “ordinary” cyclists. There was an enthusiastic discussion about how a Cycling Forum could provide a single, strong voice for cyclists in the city (and commuters from neighbouring areas) and promote opportunities for improvements both to “hardware” (infrastructure) and “software” (training, publicity, events).
The City Council would welcome such a louder, clearer voice from cyclists, and members could help in practical ways as well as lobbying for improvements. Often the challenge in achieving progress is the organisational time required, rather than lack of financial resources. There is money available for cycle training initiatives for schoolkids and adults, as well as for major infrastructural projects such as the mooted Cycle Hub at the Waterfront (possibly next to the V&A once it’s completed). The Forum should also raise the profile of cycling within the local community and encourage people to take up cycling.
A large number of participants volunteered to be involved in a steering group over the short term, to get the Forum established, and three individuals volunteered to drive this forward. It is expected that there may be some organisational link with the existing Dundee Local Access Forum, which promotes active travel across the city.
The next meeting (for any cyclists who want to attend) will be at the Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee, on Monday 5 December, at 7 p.m.
It was all very positive and encouraging for the future.
Andy Llanwarne, 1.11.16