AS THE pace of life grows ever quicker, hardly anyone seems to have any spare time these days. People are less reluctant to queue and traffic congestion is something everyone could do without.

Maybe that is why a two-month cycle path trial, which will see Wildman Street at Kendal reduced in width, is causing so much anguish and fury among local residents.

The trial, which starts today (Sunday), has led to numerous angry and heartfelt comments, many condemning the scheme, after the issue was aired by the Gazette online.

There are fears that narrowing the road, effectively making it one lane rather than two in some places, will lead to traffic chaos.

Cumbria County Council, which is introducing the trial, wants to build a cycle way along Shap Road in 2018, which will connect to other cycle ways to eventually create a continuous cycle loop around Kendal. The ultimate goal is to encourage cycling, reduce traffic congestion in Kendal and improve air quality.

These are laudable aims. But opponents of the trial say that as Wildman Street is already a busy bottleneck, where three roads merge into two lanes, reducing the road width will lead to massive tailbacks and could be dangerous to road users. They claim a trial is not needed as the results will be obvious.

That may well be the case and the county council has promised to monitor the situation closely. It says if traffic is affected significantly then the temporary barriers narrowing the road width can be removed.

That is helpful, but feelings are running high and the council needs to be ready to act swiftly if the feared traffic chaos ensues.

The controversy prompts further debate about how we all get about the town these days. Cycle lanes are being introduced in many places but are they actually leading to more people leaving their cars at home and using two wheels instead? Anecdotal evidence does not suggest a large uptake since the Burton Road cycle path was created some weeks ago.

Ultimately for cycle paths to be truly effective there needs to be some sort of sea change in society - and with everyone so busy and needing to get to their destination swiftly, is that going to happen?