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New bike racks will 'encourage people to be healthier'

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: September 18, 2012

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MOTORISTS are being encouraged to ditch their car keys in favour of a bicycle when they pop to the shops.

Nine brand new bike racks are due to be installed in shopping areas around Charlton Kings in the coming months as part of wider plans to get more people pedalling in Cheltenham.

The racks, known as Sheffield stands, will let cyclists lock up their bikes more securely.

The new uncovered frames, which are bolted to the pavement or to a wall, were asked for by frustrated Charlton Kings residents who claimed there was nowhere to leave their bikes while shopping, forcing them to drive instead.

Rhonda Tauman, community ranger project officer from Cheltenham Borough Council, said: "The request for further cycle stands was made by Charlton Kings residents as there is a shortage in the area, which doesn't encourage people to use their bicycles.

"We hope better cycle parking facilities will encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint and to choose healthier lifestyles."

The proposed sites for the bike racks are near the library, close to the shops at Sixways and at one more location .

Chairman of Charlton Kings parish council Mike Palmer believes the new bike racks will encourage more people to go green.

He said: "These new bike racks are part and parcel of one of our key objectives, to make it easier for people to use alternative transport other than their car, so using their bikes and walking more.

"It's about making it easier for people to live healthier lifestyles and obviously to also reduce congestion in the area.

"There are quite a lot of people riding their bikes nowadays and I always see people using the Cox's Meadow route to get into town.

"I don't see so many people riding their bikes to get to the shops in Charlton Kings but if the issue for them is where they can lock up their bikes safely, then hopefully these new bike racks will help solve the problem."

The borough council currently has a pot of £12,000 to spend on cycling initiatives and the racks in Charlton Kings follow similar installations near shops in Andover Road and Imperial Gardens.

More could be on the way, along with other cycle friendly measures, across the town.

Owen Parry, the council's integrated transport and parking manager, said: "We have recently started working with Gloucestershire County Council and relevant interest groups on the Local Sustainable Transport Fund; its aim is to change people's travel habits by encouraging walking and cycling and improving access around the town to allow this to happen."

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