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Norwich: A cycling city? Not yet, but maybe one day...

PUBLISHED: 09:53 24 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:53 24 September 2017

Gentleman's Walk, where the rules around cycling will change. Pic: Dan Grimmer

Gentleman's Walk, where the rules around cycling will change. Pic: Dan Grimmer


I can still remember when the announcement came through that Norwich was to be one of a handful of places to benefit from millions of pounds of cash designed to improve cycling routes in the city.

Now I’m no cyclist (though the lanes do certainly help with my early morning runs into the city from Hethersett) but it seemed like such a fantastic opportunity.

Here was a real chance for Norwich to become famous for something else, beyond our rich heritage, beautiful buildings, great football club and Alan Partridge, of course.

Norwich: A cycling city. Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?

Several years later and much of that money has been or is currently in the process of being spent.

Cycling lanes have opened up all over the city and this week the decision was taken to open up pedestrianised routes to those on a bike.

There’s no denying that more and more people are taking to two wheels to head in, out and around Norwich.

So why do I have the over-riding feeling that at this moment in time, this cash feels like a bit of a missed opportunity? I’ll tell you why.

Speak to any regualr cyclist and they’ll be able to provide a list of examples as to why some of the routes are not suitable. There’s too much debris on them, the risk of cars pulling out of drives and sending them flying and having to share some lanes with motorists are just three of the reasons I regularly hear.

Many motorists and pedestrians, meanwhile feel the new routes have not been designed with them in mind.

The tension now felt between those on two and four wheels is palpable and regularly plays out in our letters pages and social media.

Despite all this, however, I still believe the original ambition can be achieved and implore upon Norwich City Council to take a step back and see what still needs to be done to ensure bikers, pedestrians and drivers can travel in harmony through Norwich.

The potential positive impact on health, the environment and our congested roads make this a dream that’s still worth chasing.

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