'I arrive to work in tears': Cyclist's plea for better routes in city

Cyclists in Norwich are calling for improvements to routes in the city

Cyclists in Norwich are calling for improvements to routes in the city - Credit: Contributed

A cyclist has shared footage of the abuse she gets while out on her bike and has called on motorists to change their attitude. 

Every day Cathie Sloman, 47, cycles from home in Lakenham to work at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH). 

But she has had many unpleasant interactions with motorists including a near miss with a lorry driver in Colman Road and a driver shouting abuse at her at the Barrett Road junction. 

She added she is constantly nervous at the junction at the bottom of Long John Hill where turning right proves "incredibly nerve-wracking" when cars are travelling from the opposite direction.  

The number of crashes involving cyclists on Norwichs roads has fallen, down from 130 in 2016 to 100

A file picture of a cyclist in Norwich - Credit: Evening News © 2008

Ms Sloman explained: "I don't think the cycling infrastructure will be changed anytime soon. What I would like to see is a change of attitudes.

"People are generally in a hurry and become easily impatient. It's hard not to take it personally when someone endangers your life to shave a few seconds off their journey.  

Cathie Sloman of Lakenham 

Cathie Sloman of Lakenham - Credit: Contributed

"I've arrived at work in tears many times and there are days when I feel sick with nerves before getting on my bike.

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"I no longer ride my bike for pleasure on my days off because it no longer has an association with joy for me." 

Both Ms Sloman and Derek Williams, membership secretary for the Norwich Cycling Campaign, believe many motorists object to cyclists using the road when a bike lane is badly maintained.

Mr Williams, 67, said: "A lot of the cycling infrastructure in Norwich is below standard. Most shared-use pavements are hated by both cyclists and pedestrians. 

"Painted cycle lines on the road are pretty useless and sometimes are not worth being there." 

Derek Williams, membership secretary for Norwich Cycling Campaign 

Derek Williams, membership secretary for Norwich Cycling Campaign - Credit: Derek Williams

The cycling campaigner believes the government's cycle infrastructure design does not seem to apply for Norwich like in other parts of the country.

Although Mr Williams believes there have been improvements for cyclists since the campaign group was formed in the mid 90s, he would like to see off road cycling tracks which are segregated use and traffic reduction.

What has the county council said? 

Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, said: “Working with partners on our large-scale Transport for Norwich programme we’re aiming to improve accessibility for all forms of transport around the city, with a particular focus on walking, cycling and public transport.

“We’ve already seen a 40pc increase in cycling in Norwich over recent years, enabled by a range of improvement schemes such as the Wymondham to Hethersett cycle link, the introduction of Beryl Bikes and the improvement and promotion of the Norwich Pedalways.

"There are many more schemes in the pipeline through the Active Travel Fund and £32m Transforming Cities award.

“We follow the latest government guidance in designing transport improvements and are committed to the delivery of promotional campaigns aimed at encouraging more people to walk and cycle, and informing everyone about the health, well-being and air quality benefits of active travel.”

Those who feel cycle routes are difficult to ride on or poorly maintained can use an online reporting tool on the council website.

This can be found at www.norfolk.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/roads/report-a-problem