I HAVE absolutely nothing against cycle routes, in or of themselves.

On the very rare occasions I do it these days, I enjoy cycling. I’ve owned a bike for longer than I can remember.

As a young teenager I would spend hours and hours riding alone in the countryside.

Pedalling along traffic-free rural lanes, breathing fresh air, taking in the sights and sounds of nature and beautiful scenery at an easy pace…

It can be an uplifting experience, beaten only by walking which is best enjoyed away from roads altogether. And it’s free.

Trying to get from somewhere like Shipley to Bradford by bike, however, is a completely different experience altogether.

Cars, trucks, buses and bikes are not comfortable bedfellows.

There is, naturally enough, a huge tension between those who want their roads free of obstacles and those who want to travel in the open air without feeling constantly at risk.

Commuting by pushbike is hair-raising and intense. The knowledge that the slightest slip could send you under the wheels of a much larger and more dangerous vehicle means that the level of concentration required takes away any pleasure from the exercise.

And then there are the professional Lycra brigade: kitted out in the slickest gear to reduce wind-resistance aboard the fastest bikes they can afford, they treat their commute more like a gym routine than a means of transport from A to B.

And woe betide anyone who gets in their way. Even though they know they are as subject to the laws of the land as anyone else, they arrogantly insist on ignoring them constantly because “they know their rights” and it’s only motor vehicle drivers who can do wrong because they are putting them at risk.

Weaving in and out of moving traffic, overtaking on the inside, hopping on to the pavement to get around traffic lights, lashing out with feet, fists and abuse at cars that won’t stay still while they go where they want, these characters are, frankly, in the same category as the “danger drivers” that adorn this website daily.

I’m not in any way suggesting that there are not very many bad drivers who are totally insensitive to the vulnerability and fragility of cyclists, who are blissfully unaware of their presence and hopelessly blasé about the risks they create when they fail to look, fail to observe and fail to allow sufficient room for manoeuvre around them.

There are good and bad on both two wheels and four.

The point is that there is a dangerous tension between them that makes for a highly unpredictable and volatile situation on our roads, especially in a city like Bradford where the roads network is poor and many of the main roads, in particular, are not wide enough or fit for the demands of modern-day traffic.

So, separating the two as often as possible has to be a good thing.

In an ideal world, there would be wide, smooth-surfaced, direct and stand-alone routes for cyclists criss-crossing the district, making it easier for them to get from A to B quickly and efficiently, tempting more people out of their cars, helping more people to get fit, reducing vehicle emissions, slowing climate change and cleaning the air for all of us and our descendants.

In such a world, I would ban cyclists from using main roads, making them safer, faster, more efficient less stressful, and again reducing vehicle emissions etc etc.

And then I’d build separate routes for electric buses and ban them from using the main roads as well, with all the same benefits.

Oh, and I’d also insist that supermarkets could only sell locally-grown produce and most other shops only locally-made goods - and so on.

But, back in the real world…. we are where we are and, in the absence of a bottomless pit of money to knock down everything and start again, we have no choice but to manage with the best available compromises.

The problem is that we need to make a better job of it.

The £3million CityConnect2 cycle lane along Valley Road is a case in point.

First, the Council is trying to force it through quickly on a controversial route for fear of losing the funding from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Second, it is creating new road restrictions which may well be to the detriment of established local businesses and may create significant traffic issues elsewhere.

Third, it may not be the best route running, as it does, alongside a crumbing wall on one side and HGVs on the other.

Fourth, there appear to be other alternatives which have not been properly researched.

Fifth, for many cyclists it is not the most direct route and they are likely to ignore it.

And then there’s the question of cost. Why do all cycle routes have to cost “millions”? It’s as if someone says the word “bike” and two noughts automatically appear on the end of the figures.

The chief benefit of a cycle route is to get them away from traffic. Cyclists are used to putting up with the same poor surfaces as motorists and, for that matter, pedestrians.

What they need most is space, clear signage and a lot of paint to mark the routes.

Opting for less than the Rolls-Royce version (or Bianchi, perhaps, for bike fans?), surely that money - and the cycle lanes - can be made to go an awful lot further?

Built in the right places, for the right reasons at the right cost, they will surely make a better contribution to the wider community than simply going through the motions to the benefit of a few.