Letchworth cyclists exploring options for the proposed cycle network
The 2018 Hertfordshire County Travel Survey found that only 1.9% of journeys less than 3 miles were undertaken by cycle. That’s despite the fact that journeys of up to 3 miles can easily be cycled. During lockdown there has been a much-increased interest in cycling, helped by the reduction in vehicles on the streets, increased working from home and a desire to stay fit and active. Hertfordshire has been allocated funds to help sustain this increase in cycling and in North Hertfordshire this funding will support improvements to the existing advisory bike lanes in St Michaels Road, Hitchin.
Letchworth Cyclists is a group of active local cyclists whose aim for Letchworth is to have a cycle network that will encourage many more residents to cycle. During the COVID-19 lockdown the group have updated their 2017 proposal for a continuous network of safe cycling routes throughout Letchworth. They have incorporated newer transport solutions, including Parallel Crossings, and have also extended the proposal to include improvements for walking too.
The first draft of “The Community Plan for Letchworth Cycling and Walking Network” presents a series of smaller schemes which can be delivered in stages, but that add up to a comprehensive cycle network for Letchworth. A copy of this plan and an Openstreet Map, which you can use to explore what’s proposed for any particular location, can be accessed from transitionletchworth.org/letchworth-cyclists.
The group are currently seeking feedback on the schemes and are hoping this proposal will be adopted as the basis for a ‘North Herts Letchworth Cycling and Walking Network Plan’ so that any sustainable transport funding sources can be used to start creating the network.
The proposed network incorporates many of the quieter routes already used by many local cyclists. If you are wanting to continue cycling as lockdown relaxes, but are concerned by increasing traffic, the proposed network may give you some ideas for quiet routes that you could use right now.
If you have had to return to using your car, then you can help cyclists stay confident on the roads by remembering to pass them at a safe distance, at least 1.5 metres. When opening the drivers’ door, please use your left hand as it forces you to look for a cyclist before you can open the door towards them. Lastly, wait behind bicycles at junctions and recognise that to stay safe there are places where cyclists will, and should, ‘take the car’s position on the road’, for example when navigating a roundabout.
Lastly, it’s vital for safe and pleasant walking and cycling that we all keep overgrown vegetation in check and maintain hedges so as to ensure visibility, space and safety on our paths and cycle tracks.