Bike path fuss has town in a wheel spin

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Cyclists and council chiefs have hit back after the national spotlight fell on a “pathetic” bike path in Chesterfield.

The four metre long stretch on Beetwell Street crams in two dropped kerbs, two white painted triangular give way markers, two painted bicycles and two sets of painted hatched lines – all surrounded by a forbidding arc of double yellows.

The 13 feet stretch of highway has divided opinion and been mocked by several national newspapers.

However the super-short section is part of a larger cycle lane, separated by junctions.

Cycling commuter Will Jones, 22, said: “It makes the council a laughing stock.”

Cyclist Lisa Jennings, 36, added: “It’s an embarrassment to the town. There are so many dangerous roads which really do need a cycle lane but don’t have one. To paint this pathetic little lane is just an insult to cyclists who are forced to use genuinely dangerous roads which still don’t have a cycle lane. The council needs to get its priorities straight.”

A county council spokesman said: “This is not a 4m long cycle path – it is part of our Chesterfield town-wide network. The photograph makes it look odd because it is a busy part of town and it is intersected by two road junctions. We’re keen to promote cycling and make our towns accessible to cyclists. This cycle path runs from West Bars, along New Beetwell Street, ending at Park Road. It is a continuation of a longer cycle path from the A61 Derby Road, through Queen’s Park into the town centre.”

Alastair Meikle, secretary of Chesterfield Cycle Campaign, said there were lots of really good cycling initiatives taking place in the town - and many more in the pipeline.

“Potentially this kind of inaccurate sensationalist reporting could damage further bids for funding,” he added.

On the Derbyshire Times’ Facebook page, Lee Waterhouse said: “According to the council the photo makes it look odd. I’m sorry but I don’t think it matters how you take the photo of this 4m stretch. This is ridiculous and I hope the national press rip into our council.”

Mart Daddyofseven B said: “It’s only a 4m piece of pavement but it carries on either side of it. Just being made to look silly by the press.”

Hayley Jane added: “What’s the point in that?”