WILL Bramhill, vice-secretary of Colchester Cycling Campaign, asks (Gazette Letters, November 26, “New cycle lanes will free up town roads”) why I bothered to spend 12 hours counting the number of cyclists using the £1million cycle path in Mile End Road – a total of just 24.

The answer is the same reason why the previous month I spent 12 hours counting the number of buses and taxis which had been kicked out of the purposebuilt bus lane just beyond North Station bridge so it could be used by cycles only.

I have been involved in, and been an observer of, public life both in Colchester and in Parliament for many years to know that it is important to hold officialdom to account when it comes to projects and spending huge sums of taxpayers’ money.

For this reason I got off my backside and did my own monitoring of the cycle path in Mile End Road having previously monitored the situation in North Station Road.

It is obvious that the cycle path in Mile End Road has been a grotesque waste of taxpayers’ money, and that the recent costly measures taken in North Station Road have added to congestion through the closure to buses and taxis of the bus lane which was constructed (at great expense) little more than five years ago to speed public transport.

Mr Bramhill says my figures are skewed because of fewer cyclists going to the railway station due to the pandemic.

Fair point – but that does not alter the fact that recent highway barriers and posts, closing the bus lane to buses, has created significant congestion.

I did my two traffic surveys because either officials are not doing so, or they are and are too embarrassed to publish their findings.

And it is going to get worse.

On-street parking is to be removed from outside shops in North Station Road to create a cycle route, to the detriment of the financial viability of these small independent businesses.

The same threat faces businesses in Crouch Street.

Perceived improvements for cyclists must not be at the expense of the livelihoods of businesses, nor adding to congestion which we are witnessing near North Station.

Sir Bob Russell

Catchpool Road, Colchester