CAMPAIGNING cyclists are taking to the saddle to highlight the need for more cycle friendly roads in Leamington and Warwick.
The critical mass cycle event, organised by climate change campaign group Extinction Rebellion (XR), is urging riders to join a ‘family friendly’ and ‘leisurely’ 8km circular route around the town on Saturday December 14.
The route has been carefully chosen as statistic show there have been more than 80 accidents involving cyclists on the same roads in just over a decade. So far some 30 riders are preparing to set off from the Pump Room Gardens at 11am. The route includes going along the Emscote Road into Warwick, before returning to Leamington town centre and heading down the Parade.
XR member Chris Philpott, from Lillington, told the Observer: “Every cyclist is a hero stopping climate change which comes together with air pollution in Leamington. The more people get on bikes the less pollution there is.
“Locally routes are pretty appalling. We need to push for more cycle paths. People are intimidated by motorists and it puts people off riding. Cycle paths are the way forward and they need to be wide and delineated with pedestrians on one side and cyclists on the other.”
While he admitted there would be traffic disruption during the ride he said believes it was necessary to get people realise the importance of climate change.
“If people aren’t prompted to think about issues then they won’t think about them. We will apologise but it’s a climate emergency and biking is part of the solution.
“The trouble is it’s a car culture. Most people have them, people with cars in their driveway doing nothing. But that will go in future. The standard of living we have is not sustainable. The transport element is one thing our authorities are not tackling.
“We will be reasonable. We are not going to get aggressive. It is disruption but with a point. We’re doing it for climate change and so authorities will put the infrastructure in for cycling. You have to disrupt so people take notice.”
The Red Brigade – a Bristol-based street performing group known as the ‘Invisible Circus’ – is also set to make an appearance at the event. Members dress head to toe in crimson and paint their faces white to resemble statues and often mime in slow-motion or perform tableaux during XR demonstrations.
The global XR movement brought London to a standstill in October by obstructing traffic en masse for ten days in a bid to highlight climate change. Activists shut down areas around Parliament and the Bank of England, and targeted London City Airport and Government departments. Nearly 2,000 people were arrested during the protests.
Warwickshire Police did not respond to The Observer’s request for a comment.
Search Critical Mass Cycle Ride on Facebook for more information.