THE National Cycle Network – a 16,500 network of paths to encourage bicycle riders of all ages to enjoy the great outdoors in a safe environment – is, in many respects, just as important as the upkeep of national parks and other cherished areas.
Yet the fact that almost half of the route is in a poor or very poor condition, and totally unsuitable for most 12-year-olds to use because of myriad hazards, is a depressing reflection on the extent to which investment in the upkeep of these routes has not kept pace with Yorkshire and British cycling’s international success.
Not only is this short-sightedness going to stop the Network from fulfilling its optimum potential, but it’s likely to deter younger people from riding a bicycle at a time when the country needs to be doing far more to reduce its dependency on the car. This will only happen when the provision of safe cycle lanes and paths becomes integral to the planning process. It’s time for a major gear change.