Friday, 7 June 2013

Letter to Coventry Observer

This letter was published in the 30 May edition of the Coventry Observer (page 10):

Dear Editor,

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 of nowhere?

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.


George Riches

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