The Wokingham Paper

London Road cycleway is unsafe for children, says local councillor

Picture: Stewart Turkington

A WINNERSH councillor believes the council’s new cycleway is unsafe for children.

Earlier this month, the council finished work on the London Road lane. 

The council said the route offers easy access into Wokingham by bike from the Coppid Beech roundabout, and has improved the borough’s cycling infrastructure.

But Paul Fishwick, councillor for Winnersh and lead on highways and transport for Wokingham Liberal Democrats, has queried the council’s comments.

According to the councillor, the cycleway is too dangerous for a 12-year-old at bikeability level two to ride, and that should be “the rule of thumb”.

“The route ends up on an open road, and it leaves cyclists vulnerable,” he said.

Cllr Fishwick believes the council should have built a segregated cycleway instead.

“That would have met cyclists’ needs much better,” he said. “They had the space to create a proper, segregated route on both sides all the way through, and they should have.”

And he believes the London Road cycleway is not seamless and in some parts dangerous.

“The other issue is that the Council has only gone as far as Binfield Road, and then there is nothing,” he said. “All they’ve done is put a white line between the Coppid Beech Roundabout and Binfield Road, and that is not seamless travel all the way into Wokingham town centre.”

He added: “The council’s statement says that £6 million was spent over the last six years on cycling infrastructure, but that’s not really the case. The majority of work done is really on resurfacing the road.

“The infrastructure they’ve put in place is a white line, and then they’ve done some foot-wide curb replacement.”

Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for highways and transport at Wokingham Borough Council, said that London Road would have to close or houses be demolished in order to prevent cyclists travelling on an open road.

“The London Road cycleway is one of the 22 major cycling investments we’ve made in the last five years, with £6 million in total spent,” the councillor said.

This figure does not include the cycleway on the Arborfield Cross Relief Road and green bridge.

“Widened footpaths and the on-road cycle lane along London Road mean cyclists can use either section in most areas – allowing them to ride where they feel most comfortable. It’s not just new recycled kerbs and a line but a whole new area where cyclists can ride where they want, especially for young people travelling safely and independent to St Crispin’s School nearby.”

Cllr Jorgensen said that traffic islands had to be removed to create the cycleway, so it made sense to resurface the road at the same time.

But she is looking for more ways to improve cycling infrastructure throughout Wokingham borough.

“We’re keen to provide segregated cycleways where possible as we have done in Shinfield and near Wokingham station in recent years,” she said.

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