Letter: Bikes, walkers and cars claim right of way

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The Independent Online
Sir: It's heartening to see the National Cycle Strategy Board calling for more funding for cycling ("Straying from the path: Britain falls behind Europe in the cycling stakes", 7 February). But the problem isn't really a lack of funds, but a lack of informed political leadership. The Government makes money available, but it is spent ineffectively by local authorities, which frequently put in gold-plated facilities in locations with little demand. The Government then withdraws the funds, leading to an unproductive stalemate.

If we want to see a significant transfer to cycling, we have to put in cycle lanes on main roads, to let adults cycle to work, and make the back streets safe for children to cycle to school. There mustn't be gaps in the network when there "isn't enough space". Oxfordshire, for instance, refuses to install a cycle lane at a crucial location because a bridge is 20cm too narrow. If we want cycling to be a priority, then we must stop tolerating such nonsense, and insist that solutions are found. This might mean slightly less room, or a reduced speed limit for buses and cars, but in moderation this ought to be acceptable.

Sustrans, the charity encouraging cycling, walking and public transport, has done a huge job in promoting leisure routes away from the traffic. But the real battle is in providing facilities on the main roads in our town centres; it's here that the Government should be insisting on tough choices being made.


Cyclox (Cycle Campaign for Oxford)