A new cycle lane in Huddersfield has caused confusion and controversry.

It runs for only 50m up Ramsden Street and High Street and seems to go nowhere.

But now a cycling pressure group has revealed it could be the first of several in a bid to make a Huddersfield a bike-friendly town.

John Lewis, co-coordinator for Cycle Kirklees Infrastrucure Group, welcomed the new lane and said it and others would greatly help in persuading more people to leave the car at home and get on their bikes.

The group is working with Kirklees Council and regional officials to secure funding for more cycle-friendly projects.

Mr Lewis, of Marsh, said: “We need to eat more healthily, have a more active lifestyle and breathe less polluted air. Riding a bike to work or to the shops instead of using the car would go someway towards this.

Cyclist John Lewis backs new cycle lane on Ramsden Street, Huddersfield.

“A two or three mile urban bike journey takes about the same amount of time as it would in the car yet at the moment very few people in Kirklees would think of using a bike.

“In the 2011 census, Huddersfield was third from bottom in the national statistics of people who cycled to work, college or school, at just –0.93%. This compares with Cambridge – 29.03% (flat) and Bristol 6. 08% (hilly). Currently 69.66% of people in Huddersfield travel to work by private vehicle.

“One of the reasons for the low numbers of people using a bike in the UK compared to The Netherlands is that there is not enough cycle infrastructure to help people to feel safe on our roads on a bike. Huddersfield is currently benefiting from DfT money to put in place some cycle infrastrucure in the town centre.”

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He said the ring road was a problem to cyclists and streets in the centre are blocked by No Entry signs and one-way system.

The new cycle lane will allow riders to travel up High Street for the first time.

“It is planned to install a number of safe dedicated cycle crossings of the ring road, and to add to these in the future, as money becomes available. Within the town centre a number of specific cycle routes to the railway station and other destinations have been identified, and in the course of time these will be available in some form of map.

Cycle lane on Ramsden Street which suddenly cuts off at a busy junction

“They will allow the cyclist to come from various areas outside of the town and - after safely crossing the ring road - to reach the station, and other destinations, via specific streets in the town centre.

“The contra-flow in Ramsden Street is the first of these. Cyclists ride on the carriageway with the buses when travelling from the Civic Centre/Leisure Centre towards destinations outside of the town. They can now ride back the same way using the contra-flow cycle track.

“A similar segregated contra flow cycle track - planned to be installed in Cross Church Street - will enable routes to be established between the Railway Station, the University and the Holme Valley. There is also a short contra flow planned in Market Street opposite Sainsburys.”

Talks on the proposals are under way but Mr Lewis concedes there is a lot to do.

“For the future it is hoped that safe quiet routes can be developed in the areas around the town centre so it will be advantageous to make a two or three mile journey by bike rather than use the car.”