A TROOP of cycling Santas delivered what they called a 'symbolic gift' to Manchester Town Hall today.
With the ‘devolution revolution’ Manchester has a great opportunity to do things differently...
Around twenty Santas on bikes travelled in for their usual commute from various areas across Greater Manchester – including Chorlton, Trafford, Levenshulme, Salford and Altrincham.
They delivered a gift-wrapped parcel to Manchester Town Hall with the words ‘£25 per head for safe cycle lanes’. Councillor Kate Chappell, executive member for the environment, received the ‘gift’ on behalf of Manchester City Council.
Cycling campaign groups Sustrans, Love Your Bike and Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign said the Santas on bikes highlighted what they believe the people of Greater Manchester want, after a recent telephone survey of over 4000 people.
Results for Greater Manchester Bike Life report found that 75% of a random survey residents wanted more investment in cycling. Participants, who included those who cycle regularly and those who never cycle, suggested an average £25 per head should be spent out of the current £300 on transport.
Rosslyn Colderley, regional director for Sustrans North West said: “The Santas on bikes have delivered what residents in Greater Manchester clearly said they wanted for Christmas. But this doesn’t have to be a wishful fantasy.
"With the ‘devolution revolution’ Manchester has a great opportunity to do things differently and commit to consistent investment in cycling. It will help make our city healthier, less congested and a better place to live. Forward thinking cities like Bristol and Edinburgh can do it, why can’t we?”
Nick Hubble of Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign said: "At Christmas a lot of people will be getting shiny new bikes. However, without safe places to ride them, their enjoyment of their brand new pride and joy may well be tempered.
"There is a huge public mandate to transform Greater Manchester's transport infrastructure in favour of active travel, which would generate huge social returns and create a more liveable urban environment. To quote the brilliant cycling cartoonist Bikeyface, 'Hey Santa, thanks for the new bike last Christmas. But this Christmas all I want is somewhere to ride it'."
However, one disgruntled passerby commented: "What's their game, eh? Never mind their twenty five quid, how about they all fork out a £50 fine for cycling on the ruddy pavement?
"I don't care how jolly you are, doesn't mean you can ignore Section 72 of the Highways Act 1835..."
Read the Bike Life report here