COUNTY council election hopefuls met with the public during a special event to discuss what they would do to promote cycling if elected.

The hustings, organised by the Taunton Area Cycling Campaign (TACC), were held at the Quaker Meeting House on April 10.

Independent councillor Mike Rigby, Labour’s Bob Rawle, Andy Pritchard from the Green Party, Liberal Democrat Jefferson Horsley and Conservative Roger Habgood all came to represent their party’s views and their personal views when it comes to travelling on two wheels.

Pip Sheard, of TACC, said: “Our members and supporters got the impression that the political representatives who spoke do understand how current highway designs work against cycling and walking.

“The speakers made clear their support for better funding and improving infrastructure design. We are very grateful to all the speakers who played their part in making it a successful and informative event.”

Each councillor informed the crowd about their cycling credentials, including cycling to work and for leisure.

The crowd submitted a series of questions asking the candidates what they could do to promote cycling, as well as tackling infrastructure and public health problems.

The first question asked if they would be willing to promote a cycling project under the Small Improvement Scheme (SIS).

Mike Rigby, Jefferson Horsley, and Roger Habgood agreed cross-party cooperation would be needed to achieve any success for cyclists, but that funding could be found in other areas aside from the SIS, with other funding streams being preferred.

The candidates discussed the ideas of having a specific fund allocated to cycling.

Mr Habgood said: “Yes I’d like to see a designated budget for cycling, I’m not sure if it would be possible but I’d ask for it.”

“Currently 24 per cent of people in Taunton walk or cycle to work.Even an increase of two-three per cent would make a difference to peak traffic.”

The way new developments are designed in Taunton was also questioned by the panel.

Andy Pritchard said: “I’d suggest the engineers get on their bikes and cycle around. Why are we designing new developments with these design standards?”

Bob Rawle agreed, saying: “Why do we have developments with vast amounts of money spent on but no developments for cyclists?”

Mr Pritchard said he frequently takes his children out on their bikes and questioned the amount of extra “furniture” on the pavements, such as bollards and slabs.

At the May 4 elections, Cllr Rigby will be standing for re-election in the Lydeard ward, alongside Cllr Habgood, Mr Pritchard in Monkton and North Curry and Cllr Horsley for the Rowbarton and Staplegrove ward.