CycleWight, the advocacy group for cycling on the Isle of Wight, is calling for the Isle of Wight Council to show greater ambition and a long-term commitment to improving cycling cycle infrastructure on the Island.
The recent reversal of the Emergency Active Travel Fund measures has highlighted the need for proper consultation and long term planning approach to cycle infrastructure design and build, says the group. The Council, with government funding, proposed a number of small local schemes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, only for them to be cancelled a few days later.
A spokesperson for CycleWight has said:
“Some of the schemes proposed by the local authority were so far removed from the schemes desired by cyclists as to be meaningless. Very short, isolated sections of cycle lane that fail to form part of a coherent cycling network do not serve the needs of cyclists and where there is no clear rationale for such measures in cycling terms, it is hard to put a positive case for such measures to residents and local businesses.“The Beckford Road scheme in Cowes is a case in point. CycleWight has long campaigned for a contra-flow cycle lane along Birmingham Road as part of a vision to create a joined up route between the Red Jet and the start of the cycle path on Arctic Road and onward to Newport”.
This scheme, advocated by CycleWight, was one of their many proposals to Isle of Wight Council. It was, however, replaced by the ‘misguided’ Beckford Road project – a scheme that made no sense to CycleWight, who were not consulted on it and did not support it.
The spokesperson continues:
“The fact remains that a safe and convenient route between the Red Jet, Cowes town centre and the cycle path at Arctic Road is essential if we are to make the most of the cycling link to Newport and to encourage more people to take to their bikes – something that is universally recognised as good for people’s health, the environment and the public purse.“We support the introduction of new, high quality cycling infrastructure that makes a genuine difference to the quality of the cycling experience and other measures, such as 20mph urban speed limits, that give people who want to cycle a safe environment in which to do so. To achieve these goals, the Isle of Wight Council needs to adopt a long-term strategy for cycling and show the commitment and leadership to see plans realised.
“CycleWight urges the Isle of Wight Council to address this need in a coherent way and to show long term commitment to finding a solution”.