Sustrans cycle routes branded “unsafe” - Green Party propose lower speed limits

18 July 2020

Green councillors learned with mixed feelings that Sustrans was removing from designation a quarter of its national routes which it considered of poor quality due to traffic danger.

County Councillor Andrew Stringer said,

This will hit the tourist economy because about three quarters of the Sustrans network in Suffolk does not meet its new criteria for safety for less experienced cyclists. The quickest way to limit this damage would be to lower speed limits on all our Sustrans routes. Communities know where the speeds need to be reduced to make cycling and walking safer.”

District councillor and keen cyclist John Matthissen explained:

“Sustrans rightly considers that traffic at 60 mph is incompatible with safe cycling, so we want limits reduced to 40 mph wherever cycle routes are obliged to use such roads on the National Cycle Network. Similarly in urban areas they require quiet roads and 20mph, so through traffic should be excluded where possible, and the well-established ‘20’s plenty’ zones extended to cover all the on-road Sustrans cycle routes.”

An example of this in Stowmarket, recently proposed by the Mid Suffolk Greens, would be to close Chilton Avenue, St.Peters Road and Lowry Way to through traffic. This would double the safe length of National Cycle Route 51 within Stowmarket, providing an attractive way to reach open countryside, while encouraging school pupils and local people to cycle rather than cause congestion.

County Councillor Robert Lindsay, Transport and Rural Affairs spokesperson for the LibDem, Green and Independent Group on Suffolk County Council, said:

"This looks like a sensible move by Sustrans. We need to focus on making commuter routes and the school run safer for cyclists and walkers. That way we switch the maximum number of people from cars to cycling, e-cycles and walking. “

Councillor Stringer concluded:

Suffolk County Council needs to end the expensive out-sourced speed limit contract, streamline the process and deliver the safety Sustrans rightly expect.”

Together, these changes would bring many miles of the lost designations back on to the Sustrans map of Suffolk.


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