‘The council does not want people cycling because every cyclist is a lost bus customer and cyclists slow down the buses’.

That is the view of Adrian Lawson, chair of the Reading Cycle Campaign (RCC).

Speaking at a climate protest in London, Mr Lawson said: “It is not inertia but [Reading Borough Council] do not want people cycling because everyone who gets into a car or bike is a lost bus customer and cyclists will slow down the buses.

“They have spectacularly failed at every turn to provide decent infrastructure.”

Reading Borough Council (RBC) is one of few local authorities in the country to run its own bus company – Reading Buses.

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “If that is a considered opinion from him, I find it very sad.

“He knows full well that the council is committed to promoting all forms of sustainable transport.

“Promoting buses is not at the expense of cycling. It reflects Adrian Lawson’s resistance to buses. He has a completely unrealistic view.”

RCC held a cycle protest in March, demanding action to make an accident hotspot safer after it was revealed that 18 cyclists were injured between 2015 and 2017.

A Reading Cycle Campaign-led group of around 85 rode from Caversham’s Christchurch Meadows to the Reading Station underpass on Saturday, March 23.

Mr Lawson has also called for more segregated cycling lanes, 20mph speed limits and allocation of 3 per cent of the transport budget to cycle infrastructure.

RCC has existed since 1982 and has the fourth largest membership of a cycle campaign in the country, according to Mr Lawson.

The campaign is a voluntary organisation that campaigns for better facilities for cyclists in Reading and surrounding areas.

RCC works with and advises Reading Borough Council (RBC) and other local authorities.

Work on the final phase of a key new cycle route which will eventually cross Reading and Berkshire, has begun.

Known as Route 422 on the National Cycle Network, the route will run from its start point in Newbury in the west and on to Ascot in the east via Reading and Wokingham.

The final stage of the project in Reading will see off-road cycle facilities created along the Wokingham Road between Eastern Avenue and the borough boundary on Wilderness Road.