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Cyclists hit back at calls to force them to use Norwich bike lanes - but what do you think?

PUBLISHED: 22:37 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 22:37 24 March 2017

A cyclist uses a lane in The Avenues. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A cyclist uses a lane in The Avenues. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Cyclists have today defended themselves against criticism for not using Norwich’s multi-million pound network of cycle lanes.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton. Pic: Submitted Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton. Pic: Submitted

They say it is sometimes “quicker” and “safer” to stay on the roads rather than use the designated cycle routes around the city.

It comes as one city councillor called for a law change to make riders use cycle lanes where provided.

More than £16m is being spent on changes across the city, with new cycle lanes, junctions and road crossings created.

But councillors have acknowledged they do not always use the facilities provided and motorists need to understand there is no law to say they have to.

Bert Bremner Bert Bremner

Cyclists say some of the routes can be blocked by parked cars, while others can come to an abrupt stop.

Margaret Todd, secretary of Norwich Cycling Campaign, said: “I think it sometimes safer to stay on the road, because if you go on a cycle lane you then have to rejoin the traffic with cars coming from behind you, which is never easy to do.

“It is sometimes quicker to not use them because if you having to share with pedestrians it just slows you up, or there are cars parked on them which is a real bugbear for some members.”

In 2007, it was proposed the Highway Code - which is guidance, not law - be revised to state riders should use cycle facilities where provided, but that was scrapped.

Judith Lubbock, who represents Eaton, said: “We need people to understand that just because there’s a cycle facility, that does not mean cyclists are going to use them.

“If you are a serious cyclist, travelling very quickly, they might not always want to stay on a shared pathway. People need to understand that, especially motorists.”

But Conservative county councillor Graham Plant has called for a law change, so cyclists have to use lanes where they are provided.

In January, he told a committee at County Hall that a lot of money was spent providing such lanes, yet cyclists still use roads and hold up traffic.

The changes have been partly funded through more than £12m of government grants, local transport and health money and developer contributions.

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