CYCLING between Havant and Hayling Island is about to get easier as new cycle routes are set to be installed.
Since 2003 cyclists have been able to ride along the pavement over Langstone Bridge, sharing the space with pedestrians.
But at both the north and south end, the cycle way has stopped abruptly because the pavement becomes more narrow.
It meant that cyclists had to either dismount or join the busy traffic.
Now Havant Borough Council plans to make 40 yards of pavement on the northern side of the crossing for shared use by both pedestrians and cyclists.
A new section of track is also set to be built for cyclists at Langstone away from the busy road.
And plans are afoot to tackle the southern end of the bridge where cyclists currently have to dismount.
Once completed it will mean there will be a continuous off-road cycle route between Havant and Hayling along the Hayling Billy Trail, a popular cycling and walking route along the old Havant and South Hayling Railway Line.
Hayling Cllr Andy Lenaghan, also a keen cyclist, said: ‘This will make it a lot safer and user-friendly to save people having to dismount when they reach the other side of the bridge.
‘At the moment you have to cycle off a dropped kerb into the flow of traffic.
‘It’s dangerous at the moment.’
But some cyclists criticised the scheme and said it does not go far enough to help them get safely on and off the island.
They say the pathway is still too narrow.
Paul Fisher, committee member for Cycle Hayling, is pushing for a separate leisure bridge for cyclists.
Mr Fisher said: ‘It’s just a cheap way of addressing a serious issue which they don’t take seriously.’
Steve Mountain, the council’s special projects engineer, said a leisure bridge was not financially viable in the current climate and said this scheme would make it a safer journey.
He said although the 40 yards of pavement which is set to become a cycle route was narrow, it was only a short section and was therefore safe.
He said: ‘We have some money which we can achieve a solution with.
‘What we have not got however is the extra money to do what in many people’s view would be an ideal job.
‘That’s not strictly necessary at the moment, but yes, there are aspirations for the whole route.’