Monday, 13 July 2015

An open Letter to Harrogate Borough Council

Dear Richard Cooper and Rebecca Burnett,

Well done on the big bike bash it was ace. I had fun my family loved it. Pity to get there that we had to ride across the Stray as letting my kids on Harrogate's roads gives me the fear and I'm a bikeabikity instructor.

For one day though cycling in Harrogate was king. That makes three days in all, in two years. Obvs the rest of the time if you want to cycle round the center of town you take your chances with the SUV's and Porsche's clogging up the centre, but well them's the breaks.

Real shame you have painted no cycling on some of the paths we road over on the Stray, do you think that will help? Or did you not really think it through? Here is why I think that was daft thing to do.

You see these are indeed pedestrian footpaths, at least in the eyes of the law. You could fine people if they ride their bikes on them, but will you? If you do I want hear from these people. I want to know why they thought that riding these paths made sense, were they intent merely on civil disobedience? Why weren't they taking their chances with the cars on the roads? Cars doing getting on for 40 mph on the side of the Stray. I  mean there is traffic free cycling for over halfway across the Stray and then admittedly it dumps you on the Stray Rein which is grand if you are going into town, but what if you are trying to get to the Big Bike Bash or Parliament St?

Simples, just time trial like Wiggo to the Prince of Wales Roundabout make the tricky right at the roundabout, get yourself down towards Betty's as the cars change lanes to get into the multi storey and you are grand, no drama, it is fun. I have even done it a couple of times. With my head down I don't even get beeped at and on Strava it looks fantastic. My youngest it doing intervals on the turbo trainer at the moment. I have promised him a fat rascal if he can make Betty's by bike on the roads before he is 14.

Maybe if you really want folk off the footpaths, you need to think seriously about some decent bikey infrastructure on the roads? Shared two way use of the Strayside down to the Prince of Wales would work too, from the Stray Rein down to the Prince of Wales. Not many walk that way they use the footpath by the mansions, or I don't know I can think of half a dozen solutions that don't paint bike riders as the enemy, but see them as part of the solution and would cost next to nothing. We are all in this together aren't we? I drive and walk more often than not, I want it to be good for everyone.

More shared use on the Stray seems to be a no-brainer, how did we go from centre of the cycling world to treating cyclists like they carry Ebola in 12 months? 

Maybe if you had consulted on this or looked for different solutions it would not have wound so many people up. I was only moved to write this because of the strength of feeling on social media, I'm not going to fight this anymore, I don't have the time to expose this any further as perhaps it deserves.

One final thought, I went to watch Federer/Jokovic down at Montpelier on Saturday, again good on you for putting it on. You know what? I took the car, it's too much of a pain in the bum using the bikes with the kids if you heading to that part of town. I have to break too many of your rules, so I was part of the problem once more and that's rubbish and it happened on your two's watch.


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