Event helps raise cycleways hopes

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Government cash to join up Spalding’s cycleways could be heading our way on the back of the major event planned for the town in May.

Spalding Velo Prix, to be held over the May Bank Holiday weekend, is set to attract hundreds of new cyclists to the area – and add weight to a campaign run by local action group Pedals to get our cycleways joined up.

Last week MP John Hayes, in his role as Transport Minister, announced the Government’s first nationwide strategy to promote cycling and make it safer.

Mr Hayes told the Guardian, which is backing Spalding Velo Prix: “Safer cycling is something people have argued for locally for some time and the strategy I announced in the House will create a great catalyst to see what we can do to improve cycling in our area.

“An event like the one to be held in Spalding in May will go a long way to highlighting the need for improvements here.”

In the past, residents have been angered by the rising number of cyclists in Spalding using pavements.

Police in Spalding have been out as early as 5am for dawn raids on cyclists riding on pavements going to and from work.

Insp Jim Tyner said: “I would be pleased with anything that improves the facilities for cyclists in Spalding.”

Two weeks ago, Pedals met with Lincolnshire County Council over a number of issues, including more provision of cycleways. Member Roger Smith said: “Clearly with funding as it is their emphasis has to be on repairs and maintenance rather than improvements.

“If John Hayes can get specific funding to improve cycling here that has got to be a good thing.

“Mr Hayes saw how many organisations are involved in promoting cycling locally at a forum we held last year, and he has agreed to chair a second one this year at the South Holland Centre on June 12. We can only hope – and carry on.”