Money makes wheels turn for cycleways

By Alex Easton LISMORE City Council will spend more than $40,000 building new bike paths over the next few months.

But bike shop owner and cycling enthusiast Darryl Pursey won’t use them.

Mr Pursey, who owns Harris Cycles in Keen Street, is keen for the council to build new cycleways, but questions the logic of the council’s starting point for its $4.4 million cycleway strategy.

The council decided last week to start the 19-stage project, which will take years to complete, with new bike paths on Rotary Drive, costed at $200,000, Orion St ($80,000, including $40,000 from the RTA), High Street ($87,000) and Uralba St ($41,000) with another $13,400 set aside to make up any shortfalls in the projects.

The Rotary Drive path, which is being built to join other roadworks scheduled for the street, is part of a broader plan to provide a bike path between Lismore and Goonellabah.

A report to council said Rotary Drive was chosen for the link road after consultation with cyclists, but Mr Pursey questioned whether it would be used.

Mr Pursey said the hill between Lismore and Goonellabah, whichever route was selected, was too steep for all but the most enthusiastic cyclists, and said hard core cyclists wouldn’t use it because they generally preferred to ride on the road.

Shared bike and footpaths tended to be too dirty and too prone to debris such as broken glass for the delicate high-end bikes favoured by such cyclists, meaning a bicycle lane that extended from Ballina Road would be more likely to be used.

The other show-stopper for Rotary Drive was Uralba Street, which was so busy and chaotic with traffic that cyclists tended to avoid it.

Mr Pursey praised the council for moving to build the bike paths, but said it would have made more sense to start with recreational paths that followed scenic routes such as the river, and moved in a loop.

“The biggest thing you see in this shop is customers who will put their bikes in their cars and drive to Ballina to ride because they think it’s a nice place to ride. They’ll drive 30km just to do that,” he said.

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