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Cycle routes in Torfaen could have ‘fluorescent studs’ to light them

CYCLE paths could be lit by marking their routes with smaller lights rather than traditional street lamps, Torfaen councillors have been told.

Some councils in Wales are already using fluorescent studs on the ground to guide cyclists after dark to overcome the problems lighting can cause to wildlife such as bats.

Cllr Nick Horler, who represents Blaenavon, told a borough council scrutiny committee meeting cyclists can be put off if they cannot see their way while in the saddle.

The independent councillor said: “People would like to cycle but the paths can be very dark and not welcoming. If you want to cycle down from Blaenavon to Cwmavon and Pontypool there is no lighting on it.”

Mark Thomas, the council’s highways and climate change deputy director, said the requirement for lighting needed to be balanced with the impact on nature and said: “You could have fluorescent studs on the periphery of the route, to demarcate it. Some Welsh authorities are exploring that.”

Rachel Jowitt, the council’s environment director, said the ruling cabinet has agreed a 15-year strategy for how it will upgrade its walking and cycling “active travel” routes that would consider lighting.

She said: “We want a good network of active travel routes but we also celebrate dark zones as well in terms of biodiversity with bat routes.”

Abersychan Labour councillor Lynda Clarkson said lighting isn’t the only issue and a path in her area needed investment to make it safer for people to use: We’ve had issues during the daytime and need to make it more accessible for everybody,” she said. “Rather than it being a leisure route, you’d use with your family, but to use it as an active travel route. At the moment there’s a 60mph road people have to cross.”

Mr Thomas said officers could meet with her to discuss the route, and also said there is work taking place at a national level to see how Welsh Government funding for paths could be split between capital grants for new routes, and revenue funding to cover ongoing maintenance costs.

The security of bikes was also raised at the meeting, where councillors were looking at how the council has made progress on its target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and help the wider community to be so by 2050.

Cllr Horler said he doesn’t ride his electric bike to meetings at Pontypool’s Civic Centre as there is nowhere secure to lock it up. He said: “I’d like to visit the Civic Centre on my e-bike but the security is not there, there’s no way I would leave my bike outside the Civic. How quickly can you put security in for these bicycles to be used? I would like to not have to use my car. It’s not encouraging for me to get on my bike.”

Mr Thomas described e-bikes as “expensive” and said hoops which frontwheels can be chained to were no longer sufficient, but the council is working to create secure cycle storage in Pontypool and Cwmbran which would be available for everyone, not only council staff, to use.

Cllr Horler added he was pleased a bike stand will soon be installed in Blaenavon by the Co-op.

Photo credit

Envatato Elements licence.


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Cycle routes in Torfaen could have ‘fluorescent studs’ to light them

a cyclist on a cycle path
Photo: Envatato Elements licence.