PEDAL Power readers agree that more needs to be done to make Northwich cycle safe and cycle friendly.
A number of readers have written to the Guardian following last week’s article about a new group, which Pedal Power has joined, set up to investigate Northwich’s cycling infrastructure and make it better.
Calvin Yates, who cycles regularly in Europe in his work for a cycling holiday provider, said: “Northwich is a long way behind a lot of towns in its use of cycle paths.
“I heard recently that they had funding to pave the canal path, that would help but lots more needs doing to make Northwich a cycle friendly destination.”
He cycles between Rudheath and Castle using cycle paths along the A556, the River Weaver and Hunts Lock but said the surface of the A556 cycle path needs a lot of work.
He also said purpose-built cycle paths in fairly new developments were not convenient.
He said: “It would be quicker and shorter to go through Kingsmead but the cycle path there is a joke it should be along the road, every road you pass you have to veer away from the road and cross over when no traffic is passing.”
Mum-of-two Sandra Higgins had a number of suggestions for improvements including cycle lanes on wide main roads like Chester Road and Darwin Street in Castle, and Middlewich Road, in Rudheath.
She said: “Loads of roads have enough room for cycle lanes but instead just badly parked cars – Darwin Street for example.
“The new swing bridge by Northwich boat club is brilliant for cyclists, it's made the school run easier as it avoids Castle and should be promoted as a way for cyclists to get from town to Greenbank/Hartford “To do the school run from Royle Street to Hartford pulling a trailer with six-year-old on his bike they do in 25 minutes.
“This would be 20 minutes if we could go over bridge at Royle Street and avoid hazards Middlewich Road, Victoria Road, Vicarage Road – it is quicker than a car!”
She also suggested a need for a safer route to Carey Park and Marbury Park from Northwich town centre, a sentiment echoed by reader Ann Brazier.
“The one way system bisects the two and I am not confident enough to brave the one way system!
“Any route suggestions gratefully received.”
Mike Hornby, from Weaverham, said he was concerned about what cycling provision was planned as part of this town centre gyratory system and added: “Cyclists need to be consulted on what is needed.
“Cycle lanes drawn up by motorised council officers are often worse than useless, sometimes positively dangerous.”
A video has been put together highlighting just some of the obstacles cyclists face in and around Northwich.
Steve Hall commutes to work by bike between Appleton and Gadbrook Park.
He can use quiet country lanes to and from Marbury Park but the video shows his attempts to find a safe route through Northwich town centre avoiding busy main roads, roundabouts and junctions.
The video highlights how disjointed current cycle provision is, with no easy way of travelling between Old Warrington Road and the Sustrans route from Northwich to Rudheath.
It also shows the problems of riding on popular shared use cycle and footpaths which are well used by walkers and cyclists alike.
In one hair-raising section of the video Steve attempts to cycle along the Trent and Mersey Canal, which would provide a direct link between Rudheath and Marbury Park but it is muddy and overgrown and leaves him cycling precariously on the edge of the water.
“There are too many hazards for everyone,” he said.
“I feel uncomfortable and feel unsafe but I want to cycle to work because it keeps me fit and I want to do it.
“It doesn’t feel safe on the roads – it’s a very vulnerable place to be.
“You come out of Carey Park and suddenly there’s nowhere to go.”
• We still want to hear from cyclists or people who would like to cycle more around Northwich. We want to know what you think is good and bad about current cycle provision and what would make your routes easier to navigate. We hope to draw up a comprehensive wish list that would make Northwich cycle friendly, including both short term easy wins and long term ambitions. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.