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Suffolk's cycle routes are among best in country says transport chief

PUBLISHED: 16:22 10 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:22 10 August 2017

Potholes can make cycling difficult for cyclists. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Potholes can make cycling difficult for cyclists. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Suffolk has some of the best roads in the country - that's why the Tour of Britain is coming here next month.

James Finch, cabinet member for highways and transport at Suffolk County Council.James Finch, cabinet member for highways and transport at Suffolk County Council.

That’s the verdict of Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for transport after hearing about the frustrations faced by some cyclists trying to get around major towns.

James Finch said one of the reasons organisers of the prestigious race decided to stage almost the whole stage in Suffolk was because of the quality of the roads.

He said: “They looked at our roads and were really impressed and there have been a five inspections since January – there have been no major problems and they are coming back once more to make a final check.”

He was speaking after our story about potholes on roads in Ipswich prompted anger from cyclists.

Regular cyclist Ray Wand said: “The illustrations may in the opinion of SCC be acceptable for motorists but what about us who cycle? We obviously don’t count!

“They are obviously waiting for someone to be seriously injured or worse until they take action! This is totally unacceptable.”

Erin Elden said: “We are frequently being told to cycle to save the planet (and save the NHS from thousands of obese patients) and yet cycling around Ipswich is rather painful.

“Perhaps those who make these decisions should try cycling along these roads, I think they would be persuaded to change their minds and get our roads smoothed out.”

Mr Finch said staff at the county council did monitor the condition of roads – and did want to encourage cycling.

He said: “We’re always looking at encouraging people to walk or cycle rather than using their car – I’m going to a meeting about improving routes in the middle of Bury St Edmunds right now.”

As well as potholes on main cycle routes, including the National Route 51 in Ipswich, there are issues with obstacles on cycle routes in towns like no dropped kerbs or cycle lanes that end abruptly forcing cyclists on to the main road.

Mr Finch said the county’s country roads were very popular with cyclists although they could also suffer from damage because they were also used by heavy lorries and in many cases had not been built to a particularly high standard in the first place – they were just a layer of asphalt on an historic dirt track.

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