Re-pressed from Get Surrey and authored by Russell Butt February 21, 2013
PLANS for a £744,000 cycle path between Egham and Staines that could save lives have been welcomed by cyclists.
On Monday (February 25), Surrey County Council’s local committee for Runnymede will view the proposals for a fully segregated cycle lane, which would run along The Causeway to The Glanty, linking the two towns.
It is hoped the funding will come from a bid the county submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) as part of its post-London 2012 Olympics legacy to reduce cycling casualties in the UK through a cycle safety scheme fund.
The DfT set aside £15m for the project and the county will be bidding for £1.6m in total from that for various projects.
Five Surrey schemes have been submitted for consideration, including the Egham proposal which would rely on a £521,000 grant from the DfT with £223,000 match-funded by the county.
Among the other four schemes up for consideration is a cycle lane along Kingston Road, Staines.
Surrey County Council road safety team manager Duncan Knox said: “They will be fully segregated cycle paths, known colloquially as the ‘Dutch standard’, which would involve widening the pavement and providing on-pavement, off-the-road cycle lanes, separated from vehicles and pedestrians.
“In this country we have not really been able to do it. Often it has been a case of just painting a white line on the carriageway rather than fully segregating from the traffic.
“We want to reach out to all cyclists, especially those who are not confident, as one thing that might encourage them to get on their bikes is fully segregated paths, but they are a lot more expensive.”
Mr Knox added: “It is a stretch of road that certainly has had an above average number of collisions and that’s why we have proposed the scheme, so it could potentially save lives.
“Because if we don’t do something about this lane, for cyclists, then in the future it is likely there will continue to be collisions.”
Commuter Val Monk cycles from Egham to Brentford via Staines several times a week and welcomed the plans.
She said: “At the moment that road feels quite dangerous as you go past the bollards, as it gets really narrow.
“There’s not really enough room when you have got lorries coming past, and there’s usually debris on the road too.
“So a fully segregated cycle path would be fantastic. “A proper, safe cycle path hopefully will encourage more people to cycle too.”
Between 2008 and 2011, 42 cyclists were injured in Runnymede, six of them seriously. In September last year, cyclist Andy Dixon was killed when his bicycle was involved in a collision at the Addlestone Moor roundabout.
The report before the committee states that since January 2008, 18 cyclists have been injured on this stretch of road, five of them seriously.
Dan Abrahams from Thorpe is founder of cycling club TRChapeau, and is training to cycle from London to Paris in July.
Hearing of the proposals, he said: “It’s a great idea. It is needed because that bit of road is pretty bad. So it is more than welcome.
“If they can get it done, the sooner the better as there are more people on the roads now.
“Some people I speak to are nervous about riding through Staines because of that road, which is a shame as there are some nice routes around Egham, so it would be brilliant.”
The committee will vote on Monday whether to approve the proposal, and the DfT was expected to confirm this month which of the schemes had been successful in the funding bids