Barring cyclists from a Cheltenham trunk road could set a dangerous precedent, warns CTC

Highways chiefs want to make permanent a temporary ban on cyclists using a four mile stretch of the A40 in Gloucestershire. Is this the start of a piecemeal process to exclude cyclists from "dangerous" roads nationwide? Will cyclists be forced to ride on cycleways, even though they may be strewn with glass, badly designed, incomplete and longer than the road route?
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CTC believes the A40 move contradicts Government pledges to promote and increase cycling and that a damaging precedent could be set if the temporary bar is made permanent.

CTC has written to Transport Secretary Alistair Darling, Steve Norris, Chair of the Government’s National Cycling Strategy (NCS) Board and the Highways Agency’s Chris Pope in protest at the exclusion on a four mile stretch between Arle Court roundabout, Cheltenham and Elmbridge Court roundabout in Gloucester. The temporary ban was imposed three years ago because of work on a bridge. It has been renewed annually but was never made permanent.

John Franklin, a Cheltenham based expert in cycle safety and author of 'Cyclecraft' (HMSO), said: “A ban on cyclists contradicts everything we, many local authorities and the NCS Board are doing to promote cycling.

“The A40 is an all-purpose road and should be modified to accommodate the needs of cyclists. The proposed alternative route is significantly longer and little better; it is the Agency’s duty to solve the safety problem rather than simply bar cyclists.”

Moves by local and regional agencies to impose permanent cycle bans on the A5 in Milton Keynes and the Dudley Southern bypass in the West Midlands several years ago were withdrawn after protests by cyclists.

Amongst the Government backed NCS targets is a trebling of the number of cycling journeys by 2010. One of the Highways Agency’s stated objectives is “to improve safety for all road users and contribute to the Government's new safety strategy and targets for 2010.”

Richard Thomas, CTC’s Campaigns and Policy Manager (Acting) said: “If road chiefs ban bikes from key commuter routes, the NCS targets will never be met.”

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