Bike lane bid over bus cuts

sp90194 Bolsover Cycle Safety Campaign. Andrea and Jack Barker.
sp90194 Bolsover Cycle Safety Campaign. Andrea and Jack Barker.

CAMPAIGNERS are urging county council bosses to introduce cycle lanes for pupils as the local authority prepares to withdraw a school bus along a dangerous main road.

Andrea Barker, 41, of Mill Lane, Bolsover, has organised a petition in her bid to persuade Derbyshire County Council to introduce cycle lanes along routes to Bolsover School for youngsters from Bolsover, Shuttlewood and Bentinck.

She said: “If the TM Travel 553 council subsidised bus service is withdrawn children will have to walk or cycle to school.

“There is no regular, alternative service and there is no cycle lane provision and it’s going to be dangerous for youngsters going to school alongside lorries and cars.

“I would like to see the bus service stay but even if they don’t cut it the county council should still put in cycle lanes so youngsters can have the choice.”

Mrs Barker appealed to Old Bolsover Town Council, police and the county council in June, last year, for a cycle lane strategy around Bolsover after her 11 year-old son Jack suffered near misses with traffic while cycling.

But as soon as Mrs Barker learned of the county council’s plans to cut the 553 bus service as part of public transport cutbacks, she re-launched her appeal for support at an Old Bolsover Town Council meeting on February 14.

The town council explained it had been told by Derbyshire County Council, which deals with highways, that the county council did not have the funding to introduce a cycle strategy so Mrs Barker has now launched a petition.

Her son Jack currently travels a mile-and-a-half to Bolsover School, on Mooracre Lane, with a county council subsidised fare and youngsters living over two miles away enjoy free travel but this service is expected to be withdrawn from March 30.

The county council stated if it receives a petition about cycle lanes it will look into concerns.

A council spokesman said: “We carried out an initial site survey after Bolsover Town Council asked us to look at providing cycle paths in the town. Extensive funding would be needed to widen pavements and move existing street furniture and we have to prioritise our limited funding where the need is greatest.”

The council explained it is working with bus operators to try and find a replacement commercial service for the 553.

It claims it spends £1m a year subsidising transport for 2,200 pupils who are not entitled including youngsters living close to their school and for others who do not go to their normal area school.