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Ringwood pedal car guru advises Boris

The Daily Echo: Ringwood pedal car guru advises Boris

8:00am Wednesday 6th January 2010
By Timothy John »

BORIS Johnson has called for the advice of the Ringwood pedal car race guru in deciding how to improve the capital’s cycle networks.

Cliff Polton, for many years the race director of the British Pedal Car Grand Prix, has received an invitation from City Hall to help the Mayor of London devise a five-year, £111 million strategy for the so-called Cycle Superhighway.

Cliff, the head of New Milton engineering firm Royce UK, which has designed and built components for Olympic champions Chris Boardman and Nicole Cooke, said he was delighted to receive the invitation.

“I’m trying to promote pedal car racing, because it’s fun! Many people who have been involved with the pedal car race have gone on to become cyclists,” he said.

“To make cycle lanes successful, you need to change the right of way priority from the motorist to the pedestrian and cyclist.”

John Hayter, chairman of the Bournemouth Cycling Forum, said: “We think there should be a widening of 20mph zones in residential areas. This would make people feel much safer about getting out on their bikes.”

Michael Evans from the Dorset Cyclists Network, said Mr Johnson and his team should promote awareness of cycle lanes among pedestrians and motorists.

“In Holland and Germany, people just don’t walk on to cycle lanes. They’ve been brought up with them. We have a generation or two to go in this country until we reach that point.

“Boris Johnson should find a way to educate the public and encourage cyclists and pedestrians to give and take a bit.”

Peter Smith-Nicholls, who organises the Dorset Macmillan bike ride, said the continuity of cycle lanes should be considered. Sometimes you’re on a cycle path and it runs out at a roundabout, which leaves you faced with nowhere to go or a huge hazard.”

l Cliff is keen to take ideas from the Daily Echo’s cycling community to the meeting on Friday, January 15.