Town in £2m bid to make cycling safer
Work is set to begin on a £2 million scheme to expand and improve a town's cycle network.
Nine miles (15km) of new cycle paths is being built in Coalville to encourage commuters to leave their cars at home and bike to work.
It is hoped the county council scheme, which will connect with existing tracks, will help ease congestion.
Cyclist Steve Palmer, 63, from Donington le Heath, said: "At the moment, there is next to no cycling infrastructure in Coalville, so this investment is very much welcomed.
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"It's important we get more people cycling, not just to cut carbon emissions, but also to encourage more people to get fit. I would like to see more dedicated cycle routes away from the main roads."
Work will begin on improvements at the Birch Tree roundabout, on the A511 by Bardon Hill industrial estate, on the edge of the town, on October 1. Improvements will include dropped kerbs and new cycle paths.
Coalville district councillor John Legrys, who sits on a Coalville Cycle Network advisory group, which includes cyclists and council officials, said: "We want to make it easier for more people to commute to work, including those working at the nearby Bardon Hill industrial estate. It's an exciting project which will make getting around Coalville by bike easier and a lot safer."
Fran Slater, 53, of Town & Country gardening footwear and accessories, based at Bardon Hill, said: "Roads around the estate are very busy, with many large lorries, which I think puts many people off cycling to work. If they can make it safer then I think more people will leave their cars at home in future. I may even try it myself."
The project is funded by the Government's Local Sustainable Transport Fund as part of its Choose How You Move Smarter Travel for Business project.
The scheme has been split into about 30 different sections across the town, with the next step being work on a new cycle route in Forest Road, by Newbridge High School.
Lesley Pendleton, County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: "The proposed network will make it much easier for people to travel around the town using pedal power.
"We hope it will encourage more people to leave their cars at home and use their bikes for work, shopping and leisure."
Cycling and sustainable transport charity Sustrans has put £250,000 towards the new cycle network.
Other initiatives in Coalville over the next few years as part of the project will include new cycle hubs, cycle courses for employees and improved traffic signaling.