Letter to Editor – Separate Bike Trails Urgently Needed

Bajans are demonstrating a strong appetite for outdoor recreational space in the wake of Covid 19. However, we cannot continue to encourage active mobility, be it cycling, running, or walking, when the road conditions place people’s lives at risk.

Barney Gibbs, Chairman Little Edghill, St Thomas www.barbadostrailway.org

Barney Gibbs, Chairman
Little Edghill, St Thomas
www.barbadostrailway.org

Barbados is almost unique in the region for having a disused historic train-line that is owned or controlled by the Government. With no land acquisition cost, this corridor can be paved with a 10′ strip and landscaped to provide at low cost a multi-use trail stretching from Bridgetown to Consett Bay.

Cosy Corner in Haggatt Hall, could serve as the hub from which a third commuter trail could travel parallel to the ABC highway all the way to Warrens.

Recreational loops branching off the Warrens line could improve accessibility to the National Botanic Garden, while the Bridgetown and Consett lines would benefit neglected urban and rural areas. The main urgent reason for this proposed network, however, is user safety.

Recreational loops branching off the Warrens line could improve accessibility to the National Botanic Garden, while the Bridgetown and Consett lines would benefit neglected urban and rural areas. The main urgent reason for this proposed network, however, is user safety.

To be clear we are advocating for ‘Class 1 Bike Trails’ that are completely separate from existing roads; a stand-alone active transport network that is infinitely safer than painted bike lanes on existing roads. Such a network, complete with amenities, rain shelters every kilometer, seating, and interpretive signage would provide exercise and commuting opportunities for both locals and visitors.

Increasingly, funding agencies are demanding that large roadbuilding and infrastructure projects incorporate a sustainability component – continuous sidewalks, walkable environments, and bike trails.

The news recently from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport that large-scale infrastructural improvements are on the horizon will be welcomed by all road users. However, in embracing these works we must demand that the interests of cyclists, walkers, runners and the physically challenged are considered alongside car users.

The news recently from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport that large-scale infrastructural improvements are on the horizon will be welcomed by all road users. However, in embracing these works we must demand that the interests of cyclists, walkers, runners and the physically challenged are considered alongside car users.

Children want to ride to school. Employees want to cycle commute to work. Visitors want to explore the island. Let us ensure they can do so safely.

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