28th April 2021
Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) has launched a Buy Local By Bike campaign.
This is a positive step. It is great that HBC has a vision for thriving, low-carbon towns in the District, and communicates it. The importance of the local authority saying to people, 'this is what we want you to do' should not be underestimated.
Of course Harrogate and Knaresborough's cycle network is imperfect - you could say it has more missing links than connections. That is clear from the network map.
In general, I would prefer local authorities to do the hard work of creating bike routes first, and leave the easy bit of encouraging people to use the routes until afterwards. As an example, the Otley Road appears on the cycle network map, but the Otley Road Cycleway hasn't been built despite funding being in place for several years.
Overall, though, there is substance and value in the Buy Local By Bike campaign.
Further, there are some good routes which feel safe and pleasant at most of times of day. An example is the Cricket Ground/Park Avenue/Beech Grove route into town. The modal filters on Beech Grove have transformed it as a cycle route.
Harrogate District Cycle Action have some modest improvements to the route in mind, and suggest that it should be branded and promoted as the Cricket Ground Quietway (Priority 29).
The cycle network map reveals the deficiencies of Knaresborough's cycle links:
The local authority should have a vision for how people ought to make short, local journeys, because they have a big impact on our quality of life. Buy Local By Bike represents such a vision; it's a good idea, well-executed, with good graphics and useful maps.
There could be more communication of the campaign; I haven't seen anything about it in the local press.
That communication should happen in step with continuing improvements to the cycle network.