The best news of the past week was the disappearance of the ill-conceived cycle lanes in the town centre, only a week after the works started. I have rarely seen such a unanimous response from the people of Ashford as the cry of opposition to this proposal, and I am glad that Kent County Council listened and acted so quickly.
Following the change I had to sigh at some of the responses from other parts of the country, and indeed the world, along the lines of “If you oppose these cycle lanes you must not care about climate change”. People from as far away as the USA felt qualified to express their strong opinions.
What these people don’t recognise is that it is perfectly possible to support cycle lanes in the right place, where cyclists want to use them, and not to want them on roads where they will only create jams and therefore pollution.
As it happens Ashford’s cycle lane network has improved greatly in the past five years, and it is easy to see the effects in the very busy cycle racks at the station. (In normal times—it is true that everything at the station is a little empty at the moment).
For many people it is now a regular part of the journey to work. Also, especially in the summer, the loveliness of the Kent countryside means that cycling is an increasingly popular leisure activity for residents and tourists.
So it is perfectly possible to want to encourage people to get on their bike without supporting every idea for a town centre cycle lane. The ideas for Ashford were not properly thought through, and would have been unsafe at worst and ineffective at best. We are better off without them.
Photo Credit - @KentishExpress