This letter was published in the 30 May edition of the Coventry Observer (page 10):
Some people think the proposed improvements to Coventry's cycle
routes (Cycle Coventry) will achieve little increase in cycling. The
fact that the various cycle path fragments scattered about the city
don't attract much use is offered as evidence. Yet who would judge the
potential of motorways based on a half mile stretch built in the middle
Take, for example, the path on Broad Lane between Banner Lane and
Hawthorn Lane. While it helps provide an alternative to car travel for
the students and staff of Woodlands Academy, it's of no consequence to
people travelling from Eastern Green to the city centre. Few cyclists
are willing to cross two lanes of traffic for a few yards of car-free
cycling only to find themselves crossing back over those two streams to
resume the bulk of their journeys.
In cities like Bristol and Brighton, where significant sums have
been spent on improving cycle routes, the number of people cycling to
work has doubled over the past ten years. Places like Coventry, where
little has been spent, show a decrease in cycle commuting.
The Cycle Coventry programme aims to make a real difference to a
limited number of routes; experience shows that a cycle route is only as
good as its most inconvenient, unattractive or dangerous parts. There's
a Cycle Coventry Advisory Group; if you have ideas on how to improve
the programme, get in touch.