LETTER : Building a safe cycle network

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The Independent Online
Sir: K Haggett misses a vital point when he complains (Letters, 13 September) about the Sustrans National Cycle Network - it is not actually finished yet. When it is, there will be a great many urban traffic-free links onto the Network proper and this will encourage waverers to at last get on their bikes.

Far from being simply a leisure route provider, Sustrans is gradually piecing together a 6,500-mile network of cycle routes that will radiate throughout the country, via urban areas as well as through the countryside. Just 1,400 have been mapped and waymarked so far. The rest will be added over the next seven years.

Enthusiast cyclists are happy to mix with motorised traffic and forget that non-enthusiasts don't want to be anywhere near cars, lorries and buses. Many thousands of new cyclists will be created when Sustrans and their local authority partners lay down the kind of segregated cycle routes - through car-free city centres, for instance - common on the Continent. This is not ghettoisation, it is a realisation that cycle use will not grow unless truly safe routes for cyclists are provided.

The National Cycle Network is the showpiece project of the Millennium Commission and those who want to see money diverted elsewhere are swimming against the tide.

CARLTON REID

Editor

On Your Bike: the family cycling magazine

Newcastle Upon Tyne

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