For over 20 years Chesterfield Cycle Campaign has lobbied for the town to have a comprehensive cycle infrastructure.
Last year, the £1 million Station Link cycle and walking path opened to the public. The path, which connects Somersall, Queen’s Park and Chesterfield Train Station, is part of a proposed network of joined up cycle routes that aims to link key areas of the town.
Chesterfield Cycle Campaign’s Secretary, Alastair Meikle, 60, believes that the cycle path network will meet the needs of the local cycling community, he said:
“There are 3 valleys that meet in the centre of Chesterfield, so cycling along those valleys is the focus of the infrastructure at the moment. There’s no reason why people shouldn’t use those paths.
We’re getting some good surface paths, so they can be used as commuter routes, and now we’ve got a link to the station which joins all those paths up.”
The right to ride safely
The developments to the cycle network have been gradual and cyclists who currently ride in Chesterfield have concerns about the traffic they face.
Cyclist Andrew Rodgers thinks that cycling through Chesterfield as an experienced rider is “acceptably safe but not really adequate as motorists prioritise traffic flow, and cyclists often face barriers to short journeys.”
The design of Sheffield Road “encourages traffic to speed and then terminates at Saltergate for the city centre. This is functionally inaccessible. The alternatives are long and complex detours that put riders through multiple secondary conflict points,” he said.
Alex Deck, a time triallist for Langsett Cycles, commutes from Chesterfield to work in Sheffield. Alex, who was badly injured when she was hit by a car earlier this year, said:
“Chesterfield to Sheffield is fine till you get to Norton roundabout. I work in the centre, so I tend to just ride on down the A61 until I can veer off into a cycle path at Heeley. The worst things about the Sheffield end are the amount of cars and the state of the roads.”
In 2014, 21,287 cyclists were reported injured in road accidents, including 3,514 who were killed or seriously injured.
Rod Spurrier, a member of Chesterfield Spire Cycle Club, feels that “no longer is it satisfactory just to have lines painted on the road.”
Small gains, big results
Chesterfield Cycle Campaign’s long term goal of having a fully established infrastructure, will involve a number of short term objectives. This will include the running of bike rides that promote cycling as a sustainable alternative to car use.
The campaign group will also address the issue of a lack of signage at Chesterfield Train Station directing people to the Station Link path.
Chesterfield Cycle Campaign will also be making additional proposals to Derbyshire County Council about transforming some existing walking paths into joint cycle paths.