IMPROVING cycle lanes and providing more education on safety while on the roads will make cycling safer in Colchester, according to residents in the city. 

The Gazette asked readers what changes would need to be made in order for cycling in Colchester safer for those who take to the roads on two wheels.

The responses - perhaps unsurprisingly - were somewhat mixed.

Some residents were adamant roads need improving, while others felt more safety advice needs to be given to both cyclists and drivers.

Danise Conway said: “Tarmac the cycle lanes and maintain them, all the cracks and holes make it unsafe and difficult for cyclists.

“Better transitions through the junctions too, as it’s very dangerous.

“Some roads that don’t have cycle lanes are very unsafe as drivers purposely block by hugging the pavement when queuing to stop cycles passing.”

Mark Sycamore added: “Carry out their health and safety priorities and fill the potholes in.”

Rebel Deetz said: “Improve cycle lanes.

“If cycles are to be used on the road, they must pass a test and riders must use correct safety gear, and not use the road if a cycle path is available.

“It's so unsafe dodging them on certain roads, and so many people are not wearing helmets.”

Gazette: A cycle lane in Colchester's city centreA cycle lane in Colchester's city centre (Image: Newsquest)

Richard Norris, who is a cyclist himself, said he doesn’t use the cycle paths because of their poor design.

He said: “I follow the rules of the road, I have lights - when cars are behind me I help them to overtake by waving them through, I work to be considerate.

“I don’t use the cycle paths because I ride too fast for them, they’re badly designed, unkept and unsafe.”

Chris Bryant also said the cycling lanes needed more improvement.

He said: “A proper cycle system is needed, not the ad-hoc paths like the one through a car park with no links either side.

“And wider path routes where there are cycle and pedestrian routes.”

Others stressed cyclists need more education and need to make sure they are appropriately equipped for the journey.

Al Gillard said: “Teach cycle users the traffic regulations actually apply to them too, and they can't just mount the pavement and use crossings to avoid stopping at red lights.

“They should all do the basic bicycle riding training at school, like I did.

“They need to learn the traffic light cycle and understand it applies to them too.

“Make them wear reflective clothing, not head to foot black and wear helmets.”

Gazette: The bus-turned-cycle lane in Station Way, ColchesterThe bus-turned-cycle lane in Station Way, Colchester (Image: Newsquest)

Biggus Craigus Stephenson added: “Make cyclists wear helmets and hi-viz.

“Punish those who ignore red lights, pedestrian crossings and all the other traffic laws.

“Have them stick close to the kerbs, make them have identification plates and pass some sort of competency test to allow for road use.

“If they want to be treated like motor vehicles, they should be trained like users of motor vehicles, and held accountable for breaking traffic laws.”

Maria Moore added: “Make cycling proficiency tests mandatory. Mandatory insurance as well.

“Ban them from the roads when there are adjacent cycle lanes and issue fines to anyone ignoring the cycle lanes.

“Make it compulsory cyclists dismount and walk if they are on pedestrian pavements. Fine those who break the law of the road.”

Gazette: A new cycle lane being built in Head StreetA new cycle lane being built in Head Street (Image: Newsquest)

Bosses at Essex County Council have now responded to the concerns. 

A spokesman said: “With around 40 per cent of all journeys under 5km in Colchester currently taking place in cars, cycle facilities offer residents greater choices for travel.

"They are part of our aim to ease congestion and make the transport network safer, greener and healthier.

“We follow government best practice – called the cycle infrastructure design (LTN 1/20) – which puts safety at the forefront of our work.

"This includes ensuring a separation between different road users.

“We also have funds for cycle asset renewal, which includes pothole repairs.

"Residents are therefore encouraged to report any potholes they come across through the Tell Us tool at

“The council is also in the process of assessing the quality and condition of the county’s cycle routes to help us prioritise those most in need of attention.”