Cyclists have the right to use road

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I CAN readily explain the question posed by your anonymous correspondent, ‘Why do cyclists not use tracks?’ (News Post Leader, July 5).

Two specific tracks are mentioned, the Avenue Head to Seaton Sluice track and the Laverock Hall to South Beach routes.

The main reasons are as follows:

Cycle track surfaces are very variable and can be rough and uneven, which often precludes their use by road cycles with narrow 23mm tyres.

Poor maintenance regimes leave these routes affected by broken glass.

Both routes are shared with pedestrians, who regularly meander about with no awareness of the possible approach of a cyclist, notwithstanding the occasional dog on a retractable lead which may suddenly dart across the path of the unwitting rider.

Unlike systems in the Netherlands and Germany, where cycle routes mirror the adjacent road by giving continuous right of way to the cyclist at joining minor roads, these two routes suffer the blight of the rider having to give way to each road and entrance way encountered en route, which intersects the cycleway.

At Seaton Sluice the route narrows dangerously alongside a high wall and even cuts in front of a bus stop.

Having dealt with the lesser issues, the main danger of both these routes is the necessity for cyclists to cross main roads at right angles within a national speed limit and a 50mph speed limit respectively.

It is statistically correct to state that the incidence of injury and or death to cyclists is higher when crossing traffic flow as against when travelling in line with traffic.

A boy died at the Laverock Hall Road crossing shortly after the cycle track was opened, resulting in the council providing a ludicrously narrow central refuge and the imposition of a high speed limit of 50mph (witness the affect of being hit at 30mph as against 50mph).

Cyclists have every right to use the roads and may choose to use a cycle track if they judge it to be safer and or convenient to do so.

There is no offence for which they can be prosecuted if they fail to use a cycle track. However motorists can be prosecuted should they obstruct part of a highway, which could include a cycle track, but this never happens.

J HILL

Cramlington