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SW rebels “reclaim the streets”

Rebels from across the south west created pop-up cycle lanes and joined socially distanced bike rides during the No Going Back action over the weekend of 16/7 May.

Cirencester, Bournemouth, Exeter, Totnes, Truro and other local groups joined a nationwide action calling on the Government to prioritise public health and well-being by investing in safer streets for walking and cycling as the UK lockdown is eased.

Rebels from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole came out early on Sunday morning to “Reclaim the Streets” by creating a pop up cycle lane on the East Avenue Roundabout – a notoriously dangerous spot for cyclists. Armed with chalk spray and stencils and maintaining physical distance they decorated the road with a series of brightly coloured bicycles.

Rebels from Exeter, hit the news headlines with their pop up cycle lane and socially distanced “critical mass” cycle ride through the City Streets. Devon Live claimed the group “caused” confusion on the roads of Exeter.

Extinction Rebellion Truro, organised a flag-waving socially distanced ride around the city.

The actions were designed to highlight the government’s hypocrisy in spending £27bn on a road building programme in the face of the climate crisis and the news that millions of people are determined to “get on their bikes” to enable social distancing as the Coronavirus lockdown is eased.

Exeter’s Caspar Hughes, 48 of Stop Killing Cyclists said “A simple way to reduce transport emissions is to make cycling convenient and safe. 70 per cent of all journeys are less than 5 miles – in the age of e-bikes virtually everyone can cycle such a distance.”

The government has said that Local Authorities should take measures to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling, “as swiftly as possible” given the urgent need to change travel habits before the restart takes full effect. Under new powers a local authority may take immediate action to impose lower speed limits and install temporary, life saving, low cost infrastructure, such as pop-up cycle lanes.

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