Let’s have some sense about cycling

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As a long-time cyclist (63 years!) I am fully aware of the perils that cycling in West Sussex brings.

As usual, I am appalled by the county’s attitude towards cyclists.

Yes, I am aware steps have been taken to make cycling easier but as usual the county applies ‘the sticking plaster’ principle to all cycling matters – it refuses to do anything because it has

no money.

But it has always had that excuse, since the 1980s when I first came here.

For example, certain individuals have been trying to curb driving speeds in certain vulnerable areas of the city.

Sarah Sharp in Chichester has been trying to get certain residential streets limited to 20mph, quite a reasonable request.

I want quiet lanes in the country where families can safely walk or cycle.

I remember a young woman at a county liaison meeting at Rogate bemoan the fact she was afraid to take her children for a walk because of the heavy traffic outside her front door, and this on an unclassified road.

Highways chiefs tell us we have to raise a petition and then it will be considered.

My organisation, the CTC, say that ‘despite months of snow and ice in

2010-11 cycling is still growing.

‘However, casualties remain high and there are many areas where Britain is falling further behind our European counterparts in providing for cycling.

‘We still have only a tiny fraction of our residential streets covered by 20mph while hostile roads and weak law enforcement remain serious barriers to getting more people cycling.’

Why should we be the last to DO anything?

I remember only about 12 months ago a government-sponsored TV advert showing a young child lying immobile on a road. The child is slowly, unaided, dragged to the side of the road and the voiceover says at 40mph a car can kill but at 30mph a person stands a 90 per cent chance of survival.

That advert must have cost HM government thousands of pounds, yet where are we now? Still dithering over 20’s Plenty and quiet lanes.

I wonder how many policemen have had to deliver the shocking news a loved one has been killed on Britain’s roads?

Perhaps you have seen first-hand the devastation that causes.

So you see, 20’s Plenty almost certainly will save lives but when is anyone going to DO something?

We must reduce road speed and reduce traffic volume.

In Holland, for example, something like 33 per cent of people cycle, while in GB it is something like five per cent. Why? Is it because there is no support from the county or CDC?

We know Amsterdam spends £10 to £20 per person per annum on cycling whereas we spend £1 per person per year.

So isn’t it about time money was spent on cycling and make 20’s Plenty and quiet lanes a reality not a dream. When are we going to see sense?

Colin Chatfield,

Midhurst