Bike boost for Wigan youngsters

A  cyclist making the most of the town's dedicated lanes
A cyclist making the most of the town's dedicated lanes
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Just under 4,000 young cyclists are being prepared to take advantage of improved access to Wigan’s bikes network after a new deal was struck.

Specialists TTC Group have beaten off competition from four other competitors to secure the £139,000 contract from Wigan Council.

People using The Saddle junction in Wigan can look forward to a host of improvements thanks to a new £2.1m scheme.

Work has got underway on a new Cycle City programme, led by Transport for Greater Manchester, using Department for Transport Funding, which will provide a dedicated lane from Marsh Green and Kitt Green to The Saddle and onwards to the town centre.

The £2.1m initiative will separate cyclists from road traffic along Robin Park Road along a kilometre-long stretch.

Improvements are also being made to the traffic light junction at Wallgate and Queen Street, including a ‘Toucan’ crossing and an upgraded pavement to connect the cycling and pedestrian route from The Saddle Junction to the town centre.

Carmel Foster-Devine, road safety manager for Metrofresh, said in a report: “The council currently has a strong offer relating to cycling which is intended to carry cycling culture through residents early years and into adulthood.”

Free bike hire, help with repairs and adult and family cycling activities have been included previously under the Bikeability scheme, as well as Cycle Challlenge projects for workers, and grants for schools and businesses to be used for cycle parking.

The successful bidder will be asked to focus on council ward areas where there has been found to be a higher-than-average number of bike-related accidents. Training will then be offered on first come, first served basis after thatl split over two years.

Council officials will provide the new tender with its own supply of high-visibility tabards and helmets but TTC will be expected to establish its own office base in the borough.

The second phase of the Cycle City scheme, backed by Olympian Chris Boardman, will include two-way dedicated cycle crossings, with low-level signals for cyclists around The Saddle.