A recent survey by Strava revealed that Southampton in 2019 was the third most popular city for commuter cycling when based upon the number of cyclists per 1000 residents, beaten only by Bristol and Newcastle respectively.

Since announcing its ten year cycling strategy in 2017, considerable progress has been made in providing the city with safer cycling infrastructure.

A huge thank you and appreciation must go to residents on the east of the city for their patience during the recent upgrade of the A3024 Bursledon Road and which now provides a safer cycling route along this major route into and out of Southampton.

By this time next year, the cycle lane along the inner avenue will also have been completed, providing a safe route to and from Chandler's Ford, and beyond. This is in addition to the western route providing safer cycling out towards Totton and back.

As a council we want to make cycling a safer and more attractive option for those making their daily journeys to and from school, college and work.

Can I urge anyone who does cycle as part of their daily routine to record their journeys on Strava and also to sign up to the love to ride Southampton website (www.lovetoride.net/southampton) where you can also see the positive impact you are making to improving the city’s carbon footprint.

The next meeting of the City’s Cycle Forum is on Tuesday January 14 in the Oak Room at the Solent University conference centre at 6.30pm.

Anyone with an interest in cycling is welcome to attend.

Among items of discussion will be the cycling infrastructure under construction and proposed and the police will be attending to talk about how we can all make our roads safer for people on bicycles.

As a council we do recognise that some have questioned the amount of money being spent on the new cycling infrastructure.

It is worth pointing out that this funding has come in the main from central Government and this has also allowed the city to improve the traffic signalling at major junctions leading to better journey times for buses and safer crossing for pedestrians.

This funding would not have been secured unless the city was able to show that it would lead to better cycling infrastructure.

Southampton is fortunate to have a great transport team that has raised millions of pounds in bids to the central government that will benefit all residents in the City.

If we can encourage more people to leave their car at home and consider walking, cycling or busing to work, everyone benefits, even if it is just for one day in the week or month. Fewer cars on our roads has to be a good outcome for the city as we strive to become carbon neutral and improve our air quality, especially as recent United Nations climate reports urges us all to play our part in creating a cleaner world. (www.un.org/en/climatechange/reports.shtml)

As a council we know there is much more we need to do and this does include consideration for those walking and using out buses.

My challenge to the residents of Southampton is to make us the second best cycling commuter city in 2020.

Let me finish by saying that as a Labour council we recognised that cycling is a choice and we can only make this option more attractive by making this mode of transport safer.

Happy and safe cycling in 2020.

Eamonn Keogh

Southampton City Councillor