How on earth did it take so long to get a crossing?

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Fifteen years since it was first promised, a safe crossing is at last going to be installed so cyclists and pedestrians using the Hayling Billy Trail can have peace of mind as they cross.

We have no doubt that this signal-controlled safety feature, known as a toucan crossing, is needed.

The only question is why it took so long to come into being.

Ever since the Hayling Billy cycleway was introduced in 1997, people have been putting forward the common-sense argument that it is ridiculous to encourage cyclists – including families – to use a route and then expect them to cross a busy road to get through it.

Hampshire County Council, which is responsible for highways, argued somewhat unconvincingly that the crossing was not needed because there had been no history of safety-related incidents there.

But there must be a suspicion that the cost of installing the safety feature – put at upwards of £80,000 –was a factor.

Of course, the minute a serious accident occurred there, that £80,000 spend would have been put into perspective.

Now Havant councillors have thrown out the council’s contention that the crossing is not needed.

It’s a well-deserved victory for those campaigners who kept up the pressure and never let up.

Keeping traffic moving is an important consideration but it is difficult to see the trail being used to such an extent that holding up cars to let cyclists and pedestrians cross will cause any serious delays.

Cycling is free, green, cheap and great fun and that’s why it forms a key part of many councils’ strategies for easing congestion and improving health.

Knowing of a potentially dangerous snag in the middle of an otherwise beautiful route may well have put some people off using it.

We hope that this crossing will ease their fears.

And we trust that having lost this battle, the county council will now stop putting up barriers and get on with installing the crossing as soon as possible.