Controversy over £74k cycle lanes

SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

THE new £74,000 cycle lanes at Riding Mill’s Broomhaugh roundabout have sparked controversy.

A new wide tarmacked pavement has been created to enable cyclists to leave the main road and share the path with pedestrians.

Cyclists will then rejoin the A695 shortly after crossing the roundabout.

Northumberland County Council said the new layout, which has been funded by the Government, was due to “several recorded accidents” involving cyclists.

However, some have denounced the work as a waste of money.

Chairman of Tyne Valley Cycling Club, Mike Hodgson, said: “I can’t see any gain from it at all.

“You have about 10 yards of a cycle lane then you go back on to the main road; it’s too short a stretch.

“There’s danger everywhere on the roads but I’ve never known of any problems in that area.

“I go to North-Wast Cycle Board meetings and it’s not been raised there.

“It would have been good if they had taken advice from cycling clubs. I don’t think it’s a good use of the Government’s money. I think it’s a tremendous waste.”

County councillor Anne Dale, chairman of the council’s Walking and Cycling Board, said the roundabout was earmarked for improvement following accidents.

She said: “There have been three registered accidents there within the last couple of years.

“It is funded from the Local Transport Plan scheme from Government and some of this funding is ring fenced for cycle improvements.

“The Riding Mill and Broomhaugh Local Transport Plan supported the application for an investment in a cycle route between Stocksfield and Riding Mill. This work is part of that, picked out because it is an accident blackspot. In the long term I would like to see the continuation of the off-road cycle route extending from Wylam through to Hexham but that is something for the future.”

Chairman of Riding Mill Parish Council, Councillor Andy Dunhill said: “Cycling on main roads and especially roundabouts can be daunting and hazardous. I believe it is a positive measure aimed at encouraging people to get out on cycles in a safe environment.”

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