Can Lincoln become a cycling city?

Amsterdam, Paris, Copenhagen — and Lincoln?

For years, European cities have invested billions of pounds into cycling infrastructure and facilities. The result is a prolific cycling culture among a population which sees cycling as the norm, and where people cycle to work or for leisure more often than driving a car. So can Lincoln become a cycling centric city?

In reality, most cities in the UK are nowhere near achieving a cycling culture reminiscent of those in Europe or further afield in Beijing or Tokyo, so we must be realistic about what Lincoln can achieve. What’s important though is that as a city, we really try to make an effort.

Through Lincolnshire County Council’s Access LN6 programme, £6.5 million is being invested into the area to improve opportunities for sustainable travel. Whilst this includes public transport, walking and car sharing, the team will also heavily focus on encouraging people to commute to work by bike.

To celebrate national Cycle to Work Day September 12, the Access LN6 team are holding a number of events and working with numerous businesses in the LN6 area to encourage their staff to cycle to work.

Last month, we launched Hirebike. In just three weeks, 300 people have signed up to the scheme, with an average of 15 bikes being rented daily; a great achievement for Access LN6 and proof that access to bikes was a factor in why people weren’t cycling in Lincoln previously.

Feedback from people using the bikes has been overwhelming – Phil Welch on Twitter called them ‘practical and fun‘, Lianne Smith on Facebook spotted two hirebikes at The Pyewipe on August Bank Holiday and Victoria Moore on Twitter thinks they’re a ‘brilliant idea’. Let’s hope that the hirebike success continues!

Eight Hirebike stands are placed across Lincoln and use a code to release the bikes. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Eight Hirebike stands are placed across Lincoln and use a code to release the bikes. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Next month, work will begin on the development of a shared footway and cycle path along Whisby Road from Doddington Road to the new Teal Park development in LN6. Work is expected to begin next month and take approximately 12 months.

And finally, the three month walking and cycling survey undertaken in LN6 has now been complete, with seven areas being identified as key areas of improvement. This includes Station Road which could benefit from developments to the cycle path. More information about the key areas will be presented at the Access LN6 Information Event on Wednesday 2 October, 4.30pm – 7.30pm at Rustons Sports & Social Club.

So whilst bike schemes can be found across the continent, cycling to work is often preferable to driving and European countries seem to invest much more funding into cycling infrastructure and facilities. It’s important to remember that Lincoln is also trying to improve our cycling culture, and although it might take a while, we hope that more people will be encouraged to get on their bikes (or Hirebikes!) as a result.