DEDICATED cycle paths and road safety measures are needed in Colchester if biking is to be made more popular, according to councillors and campaigners.

It comes after Essex County Council unveiled plans for a £750,000 shared cycle and footpath in Mile End Road, Colchester.

The Colchester Cycling Campaign has listed the top places it believes should be prioritised as needing cycle paths.

William Bramhill, planning officer for the campaign, said: “We are in favour of cycle facilities, but we want high quality infrastructure where it’s needed.

“We haven’t asked for the one in Mile End Road because there are better and cheaper solutions.

“In our view, a 20mph limit should be put on Mile End Road, Nayland Road and Mill Road West. Another option would be to put a bus gate in Mill Road West, in effect turning the area into a giant cul-desac.

“Reducing speed and reducing traffic levels is the best way to encourage cycling and walking.”

Dominic Graham and Martin Goss, Lib Dem borough councillors for Mile End, have held talks with Mr Bramhill, asking him for the top places cycle paths were needed.

Locations include a two-way cycle path from Colchester North train station to Mile End Road, and a cycle route from Mill Road to The Gilberd School.

Safer links to schools is also a priority.

Mr Graham said: “We are keen on cycling and we want to get more people on their bikes.

“To do this we need safer routes, and as Mr Bramhill has a lot of knowledge on the area, we asked him for his views.”

Essex County Council said it is looking at sustainable transport schemes to link rapidly growing North Colchester with the train station and town centre.

Mr Graham urged the county council to work more closely with the borough council to come up with schemes to promote cycling, after the Gazette revealed no-one had requested a shared cycle lane and footpath in Mile End Road.

He said: “Colchester has the highest level of cycling in Essex, which continues to grow.

“The draft Essex County Council Cycle Strategy recognises the need to provide a change in the extent and quality of cycling infrastructure, and improve the design of cycle facilities in order to encourage greater use of cycling.”

“We would encourage the county council to be more open and inclusive through the design processes to arrive at designs which will benefit the residents and help to achieve our joint aims.”