CYCLISTS: Campaigning for joined-up cycle routes

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The recent police operation to stop and fine cyclists in the early morning on the pavement between the Enterprise Park and Spalding has aroused a variety of comments from members of the public and has raised awareness of many of the issues about promoting cycling as a safe, healthy, environmentally-friendly, low-cost means of transport.

Cyclists leaving Morrisons abattoir on Enterprise Way can start their journeys on the cycle track on the pavement. Heading towards Spalding there is then no specific provision for cyclists on the busy Spalding Road until they get almost to the cemetery entrance, where a newly-created cycle track on the pavement leads to the new Pinchbeck Road/West Elloe junction and the cycle tracks alongside Pinchbeck Road and West Elloe Avenue.

For many years Pedals has been campaigning for “joined-up” cycle routes in Spalding.

Thanks to Lincolnshire County Council and South Holland District Council the situation is gradually improving but much more needs to be done.

The authorities must be prepared to tackle some of the less straightforward challenges as well as the easier ones. For example, the cycle track on the east side of Halmergate, part of the Safer Routes to Schools programme, will be used more if better, safer provision is made for cyclists at the Low Road and Stonegate junctions at each end of the existing track and at the junctions along its length.

Cyclists travelling from the Enterprise Park to the town could avoid Spalding Road

completely by using the former railway track-bed which runs from Moortoft Lane (off Enterprise Way) and joins Pinchbeck Road opposite Park Road.

It is not surprising that many choose not to use this route. In many places the surface is loose stones; it has many potholes and ruts; there is overhanging vegetation in several places; the surface drainage is inadequate, resulting in puddles during bad weather. When South Holland District Council granted planning permission for the Johnson Community Hospital, it imposed conditions requiring improvements to this cycle route, but these improvements were never carried out.

The council has declined to take action to secure the approved improvements, despite pressure from Pedals.

There is no avoiding the fact that cycling on pavements is only legal where specific orders have been made and signs erected.

However, the enforcement of this law should be carried out sensitively. There are many places where one cannot blame cyclists for riding on pavements where there are no pedestrians and when they feel safer than cycling on busy roads close to heavy or fast-moving traffic.

On the other hand, there are places in Spalding’s town centre, for example, where cycling on pavements is a high risk to the safety of pedestrians and cyclists alike and where the rules of the road should be enforced.

These are the places where the police should concentrate their interest in illegal cycling.

We also look to the police to show equal concern for the behaviour of motorists who put the safety of cyclists at risk by, for example, using mobile phones while driving, or parking on cycle paths.

Roger Smith

Pedals – Spalding’s Cycle

Action Group)