LETTER – Southampton's transport plan will benefit everyone

As quoted in last Saturday's Echo I am very happy that new cycle paths around Southampton are being marked out meaning an increased amount of space for cyclists, I must remark though, sad as it is I am not an elected councillor. It is great that so many letters have been printed giving differing opinions on cycling and I am hoping that the city's transport plans now coming to fruition will overall benefit everyone. It is incredible that the two wheeled traveller can cause such a stir and not just be helped along the way with more encouragement.

The latest suggestion from Bernie Pearce is that cyclists should be mandated to use cycle lanes if they are provided. Being an older cyclist I can probably stomach this one; I ride along at a sluggish pace and tend to be going at the correct speed to take those sharp inside turns dotted around the city. And at around 12mph I have time to brake for pedestrians that seem to just ignore you on those left hand turns; even if your left hand is jutting out far enough to make half your body look like a scarecrow, all while your other hand is braking and ringing the bell.

The truth is there are still plenty of shared pedestrian and cycle paths and I hope that cyclists and pedestrians can have mutual respect. No doubt there will be at least one cycle club member reading this thinking 'why sacrifice some of the road space just on Bernie Pearce's proposal?'. And 'am I not aware that most of the cycle lanes in the city are not designed to ride at 20mph, which is the more realistic speed a fit cyclist will be riding at?

Well I think that there should be give and take and that if motorists are prepared to stop parking/crawling along cycle lanes, stop pulling up in the cycle lane boxes at traffic lights and refrain from pulling out in front of cyclists (knowing a cyclist is the most vulnerable in the situation), and ultimately pushing cyclists too close to the kerb; well then it might just be a fair sacrifice to make within the city. Outside the city the law of the jungle will still apply and cyclists will have to continue to assume that almost every driver is out to kill them. Oh and let us not forget, the real danger for cyclists and pedestrians are the motor vehicles where 99% of pedestrians killed in the EU were killed by a motor vehicle.

If the road traffic can successfully keep out of the cycle lanes then there is a good chance it won't make it onto the pavement.

Joe Cox

Southampton

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