So more public money is to be spent creating cycle facilities in March (Citizen December 11). My opinion is that these facilities are only likely to have a detrimental effect on road safety overall.
Shared use pedestrian/cycle paths create danger for both the pedestrian and the cyclist. They can only work if there is plenty of space or if the cyclist is prepared to cycle at no more than walking speed. Look at the disastrous facility on March High Street to see a truly awful example of this.
On-road cycle lanes encourage cyclists to ride dangerously close to the kerb. This in turn encourages drivers to pass too close. Any cyclist using the cycle lane outside Neale-Wade Academy will find traffic whizzing past within inches and when the lane abruptly ends at the pedestrian crossing, they will be vying for road space with overtaking traffic. Cyclists not using cycle lanes, can find themselves subject to driver aggression (eg shouted at, driving too close and horn-blowing).
If we really want to encourage cycling and walking and to make the roads safer for everyone, we need to reduce traffic speeds and reduce driver aggression. Drivers need to be more aware of the danger they pose to others and cyclists need to be better trained in proper road use. The only benefits of the current cycle facilities in March are to drivers who want cyclists off the roads proper and to politicians who want to “greenwash” us into thinking that they are doing something good for the town.