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Cycleways are cost effective

JA Edwards is completely wrong, both in his assessment of cycleways' value for money and in his denial that better cycle facilities encourage more cycling (NCE 7 January).

Cyclists are the most vulnerable of road users, so accident savings alone frequently justify the provision of cycle paths using traditional cost benefit analysis, even before any environmental benefits are taken into account.

New incentives are needed to encourage cycling, but cyclists do not always have to be segregated from other road users by paving over urban greenery. Appropriate traffic calming on local roads can assist them greatly while well lit paths over 2m wide are suitable for shared use by pedestrians and cyclists.

Some pedestrians object to cyclists on footways, but studies show that conflict is minimal where combined movements are under 200/hour. Government has endorsed a number of publications on the practicalities and many councils today have local plans linking into the Sustrans National Cycle Route Network.

It has been frequently observed that cycle use is much higher where cycle friendly measures are widely implemented - and not just in the Pays Bas. Studies in Germany have shown that it is possible to achieve local trip transfer of up to 35% cars to cycles.

Obviously local topography will affect trip transfer but any council serious about traffic reduction cannot afford to underestimate the value of a strong cycling strategy as part of its integrated transport plan.

Brian Hanson (M), technical director, Aspen Consulting Group, Dippen Hall, Blindley Heath, Sussex, RH7 6JX

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