TWO Solihull councillors formed an unlikely duo to test a troublesome cycle path in Solihull after being challenged by a resident.
Green Party councillor Rosemary Sexton, for Shirley West, invited Tory cabinet member for environment and highways Ken Hawkins, for Blythe, to cycle the A34 route between Union Road and Haslucks Green Road on Sunday (June 23) after receiving complaints.
With residents demanding safer and easier cycle routes, Coun Hawkins has agreed to take concerns to the council about the A34 path and others.
He has even agreed to go on a bike ride with any councillor concerned about a route in their ward – and work out how it can be improved.
Coun Sexton said: “We agreed that the route was very badly signposted – several times we weren’t even sure whether we were still on a cycle path, or whether it had mysteriously disappeared and become ordinary pavement.
“Where there was shared space with pedestrians, things were also very badly indicated.
“We both agreed that improving the cycle route – and hopefully extending it all the way down the A34 to the Blythe Valley Business Park would have huge benefits and make it much more appealing for cyclists.
“It would encourage more people to feel comfortable leaving the car at home and taking the bike out, whether to visit the shops or the park, or as part of a route going somewhere else.”
Coun Hawkins told us: “I am a keen cyclist. And I am keen to promote and develop more and better cycle routes.
“Because they are underused at the moment. If you have got the infrastructure there, more people will cycle.
“We want to make sure all our cycle routes are fit for purpose. Poor signage and things like that can lead to frustration.
“And that’s why I extend the offer of a bike ride to every member.”
Solihull Council has been seeking to encourage more sustainable forms of travel such as walking and cycling as part of its much-trumpeted Clean Air Strategy.
And Coun Hawkins said he is also keen to boost walkways and routes across the borough to make cycling and walking safe and easy for borough kids and families.