SIR: I am concerned at the increasing support for cycling as a means of travelling into and within our city. It is assumed by some, without question, that cycling is always a Good Thing. More thought needs to be given to this.

Cycling will always be a minority interest, and it is clearly not practical for those in poor health, disabled people, those with young children, and most elderly people. Above all, it is simply not most people’s choice.

My main concern, however, is that the number of commuters and shoppers cycling into Winchester’s city centre is already adversely affecting the vast majority who travel by bus and motor car. Bicycles are fine when there are only a few of them on quiet roads, but a saturation point is easily reached beyond which they begin to obstruct one another and, especially, other traffic.

There is now general acceptance that buses (and trams) are more efficient users of limited road space, but from everyday observations of the main feeder roads into Winchester’s city centre, buses are rarely able to pass the occasional cyclist easily, who is holding up the bus and a long tailback of cars. Thus, there is more congestion, more pollution, increased bus journey times, lost passenger revenue, wasted public money on facilities for cyclists and so on. Think of the tailbacks behind determined cyclists slowly making their way up the hills of Romsey Road and Stockbridge Road, for example.

On most criteria, encouraging more of this anti-social behaviour is an inefficient use of narrow and scarce road space in this small city, benefitting the few, at the expense of the many. The bicycle, like other modes, has its place, but should not be encouraged for commuting, shopping and similar journeys. Electric-powered buses are the future, and providing a network of more frequent routes should be the county and city council’s priority for the city and surrounding villages.

Dr Les Burwood,

Sleepers’ Delle Gardens,