Taxis in bus lanes retrograde step says Lyttle

Alliance East Belfast Assembly candidate Chris Lyttle has called a move to allow some taxis to use bus and cycle lanes in the city centre a retrograde step.

Mr Lyttle was speaking after the Department for Infrastructure announced the 12-week scheme. It will see the majority of taxis in the city allowed to use bus and cycle lanes in East and West Belfast, as well as the city centre.

He said the news had come as a surprise.

“These bus and cycle lanes are some of the only segregated inner city cycling infrastructure available to encourage safe cycling in Belfast. I and members of the All-Party Assembly Cycling Group met with the Infrastructure Minister in December and he gave no indication of this decision.

“It is a retrograde step. Cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users and this policy contradicts the Executive Cycling Strategy, which was designed to promote sustainable transport and active travel, giving people the freedom to travel by bicycle for everyday journeys.

“There is now an urgent need for Executive Ministers who will adequately invest in cycling and make delivery of the Belfast Bike Network Plan a priority if we are to achieve the multiple health, social and economic benefits of this sustainable and active travel.

“We particularly need upgrading of the Comber Greenway and all routes into the city centre. Unless and until the Minister delivers a comprehensive network of segregated infrastructure for cyclists in Belfast, these bus and cycle lanes should be protected and marked for safe cycling.”

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