Cycling is set to be severely restricted on two major Belfast streets, said sustainable transport charity Sustrans.
The organisation has urged the public in the city to respond to plans to exclude cyclists in one direction on Donegall Place and Queens Street – part of the Department of Social Development's ‘Streets Ahead’ scheme.
“This will make cycle journeys longer and put people off using their bikes to get into the city,” said a dismayed Steven Patterson, Sustrans Director for Northern Ireland.
“The city’s transport plan states that every opportunity will be taken to make Belfast as cycle-friendly as possible and cycle use has risen every year over the last eight years so it is nothing short of perverse to suggest restricting accessibility for cyclists.
“While many of the improvements being made in the Streets Ahead programme, such as better pavements, public art and cycle parking, are to be welcomed, this proposal is a regressive move."
Sustrans called on riders to be vocal about their disapproval: “We urge the public to respond to these plans when the Department for Regional Development advertises the Traffic Orders to change the use of these streets. At a time when we need to be encouraging more cycling for the benefit of health and the environment, this is completely the wrong move.”