Cycle routes to nowhere…

…or cycle routes to Accident and Emergency?

Why we need SPACE FOR CYCLING

Many motorists cannot understand why cyclists do not use cycle routes. Well, most cycle routes, unlike the M3 or the M4, go nowhere, they may end on the edge of a field, in the middle of a wood, half way along a street or just short of a busy junction or roundabout.

What about the cycle routes which do go somewhere? Well, caveat emptor, or in plain English, “user beware” or you could experience a painful tumble.

Last winter I was foolish enough to go on the cycle path instead of the adjacent pavement for pedestrians (there was no road for motors). A cyclist suddenly appeared round a blind corner, there was nowhere to go other than into a solid wall, we tangled handlebars and I ended up in casualty unable to use my hands or hold cycle handlebars for three months. As I say, I should have known better, as my husband was thrown off his tandem negotiating a hidden obstacle in the middle of the cyclepath. He was unable to walk or cycle for weeks and eventually had a knee operation.   My friend in Aldershot is a cycle trainer and should have known better than to use an 18 inch wide cycle lane, she was caught between kerb and parked cars with nowhere to go and was invisible to a car turning across her path, she was run over and had her leg broken. If she had used the wider pavement or even the road she would no doubt have been accused of contributory negligence. “Fortunately she was wearing a helmet” you might say, but how that is meant to prevent a broken leg or prevent the accident in the first place I have no idea. Then too no amount of yellow clothing will make you visible through a solid wall or behind parked cars.

The message is clear, cycle paths which are poorly designed or go nowhere are DANGEROUS and should not be built let alone used. What we need is SPACE FOR CYCLING and the courage to spend the necessary MONEY. Holland, the modern utopia for cycling despite having more cars per head than in Britain, was once just like Britain with few cyclists and nowhere to cycle. The Dutch had the courage and the will to spend money on well designed infrastructure with lots of space for cycling.   We need to do the same instead of buying a few metres of cycle path here and there from housing developers.

The Local Plan is up for final consultation, lot of new housing but nothing for cycling – just a few more shoddy cycle paths.

If you want to join the Basingstoke local cycle campaign group contact Heather Rainbow

heather@rainbowramsey.plus.com or phone 0758 3336879

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