WHEELS are in motion to improve safety on Jubilee Bridge which connects Barrow and Walney by converting one of the two walkways into a protected cycle track.

The plan has come from Barrow MP John Woodcock and a coalition of local cycling clubs, businesses, tourism chiefs and a leading sustainable transport organisation.

And they have made their call as some of the biggest names in cycling descend on Barrow for stage six of this year’s Tour of Britain.

Cumbria County Council is responsible for the bridge and Mr Woodcock has written to its senior officers asking for the cycle track to be implemented as part of the waterproofing upgrade currently being carried out.

In a letter to council chief executive Katherine Fairclough Mr Woodcock, who recently completed the Walney-to-Whitby 151-mile challenge, wrote: “Jubilee Bridge is the only road connecting Walney’s 10,000 inhabitants with the mainland. When it opened in 1908 the island’s population was numbered in the hundreds and some people used the horse and cart for transport.

“Nowadays there is a safety risk for cyclists because the comparatively narrow bridge struggles to cope with the volume of modern traffic approximately 24,000 vehicles a day. This in turn becomes hazardous for pedestrians because cyclists ride on the walkways that run along both sides of the bridge.

“Cyclists who do stay on the road can cause traffic flow problems. You will know that waterproofing works are being carried out on the bridge. Stage one is expected to conclude later this month before work resumes next summer. We believe that now is the time to give a green light to the protected cycle route plan so that it may be implemented during the upgrade.”

Mr Woodcock’s letter was signed by Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism managing director, Paul Bruffell, north west network development manager of sustainable transport charity Sustrans, Colin Garnett, communications officer with both Barrow Central Wheelers and Barrow Business Improvement District along with Gareth Boyd of Lakes Road Club.

The MP’s plan has also been endorsed by Topmark Cycles of Barrow, whose Walney-based staff member Sharon Lovidge, said: “I feel a designated cycle track families will be safer and commuters will get from A to B hassle-free.”Council bosses responded positively to the blueprint and will discuss the plan in the future.