‘Glorified lay-by!’: Locals slam council for building ‘pointless’ 20ft cycle lane

Nick Ferrari discusses cycle lanes with fellow cyclist

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A road in Stoke-on-Trent had to close for a month for Staffordshire County Council to install a 20-foot-long cycle lane, which has been described as a “glorified lay-by”. The new cycle lane, in Kidsgrove, has room for cycle traffic in both directions and is the first of its kind in the area.

Despite this, one local resident attacked the attempt to encourage cycling, claiming the short stretch of road is “basically just a lay-by”.

Bill Priddin said they closed the road down for “about four or five weeks”.

The 73-year-old added: “It’s only about 20 feet. If they’re trying to get people on their bikes, it’s not doing a very good job.

“I just find it amusing.”

Another resident, David Holland, 50, said the path was “pointless”.

He said: “People don’t know it’s there, and even if they did it wouldn’t get used.

“Our roads aren’t wide enough for cycle paths in the area – cyclists just use the roads anyway so it’s a waste of money.

“Some of the areas around where we live are high in pollution because of the busy roads, I know that it is a problem. 

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“But I can’t see how that cycle path will help to solve it,” he told Metro.

However, the council defended the decision to install the cycle lane, saying it would promote cycling in the area.

David Williams, cabinet member for highways and transport at Staffordshire County Council, said the improvements are part of plans to “make it easier and safer for people cycling for leisure and for getting to and from work, school or college”.

He added: “By encouraging more people to use active and greener modes of travel we will not only help improve people’s health and wellbeing, but will also help reduce congestion and air pollution.

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“The new section of cycleway that crosses Heathcote Street provides the missing link of the National Cycleway Network (NCN) Five, giving people a more direct and safer route to cycle through the town.

“The improvements follow changes to the nearby junction which are part of wider plans to improve air quality in the area.”

Another comically-short cycle lane was spotted in 2016 in Wolverhampton.

Cyclists were shocked to find a four-and-a-half-foot lane, which was said to barely be big enough to fit two bicycles.

Many criticised the council for installing the cycle lane, with many not seeing the benefit of having a lane that small.

In May 2020, the Government unveiled the largest ever boost for cyclists and pedestrians through a £2billion package.

Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors have been created in England.

The Government said it would fund and work with local authorities to make it easier for people to use bikes to get around.

This includes Greater Manchester, where there are plans to create 150 miles of protected cycle track.

Transport for London also has plans to launch a “bike Tube” network above underground lines.

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