SIR: I welcome the Winchester Cycling Charter reported in the Chronicle on April 1. Clearly to address the climate emergency and reduce dangerous pollution, cycling must be a major part of the solution. I note that there is support from cyclists. Your report includes a photograph of a woman with two small children, one on her mother’s bike and another on his own bike negotiating the King Alfred roundabout. I suspect that you believed the report and picture would encourage people to cycle. I think you are very wrong.

I remember the 2017 consultation on the regeneration of Winchester (led by JTP Architects) when I spent two weekends discussing transport. Unfortunately the consultation went nowhere, but I learnt one thing. A member of the transport group, who was an experienced cyclist, explained how putting down a white line on a road, separating cyclists from other road users was all that was needed to encourage cycling. I knew then that I could never trust my life and safety to a white line with modern traffic. Cycling was OK for me growing up in the 1960s, but I kept my children off Winchester roads in the 1990s and acquired mountain bikes for cross country outings. Winchester traffic has got worse since then.

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The photograph to some might look ideal with a happy family outing and cars keeping a good distance. But this is not a complete picture. There may be a tired HGV driver not noticing a family of cyclists. or a late delivery van driver speeding to keep his job. At any time the roads can become blocked and some drivers will take risks, including using cycle lanes.

My advice is simple. Consult people who do not cycle and ask them why. I am sure the vast majority of those fit enough would cycle, if they felt safe. Amsterdam, a world leader in encouraging cycling, did it by separating cycling from motor vehicles. I doubt there will be an increase in cycling unless Winchester follows suit.

Dr Michael Bennett,

Fordington Road,