Enfield’s cycle lanes have made travel safer and could be bringing more customers to local shops, cyclists have claimed.

Members of campaign group Better Streets for Enfield say the cycle lanes along the A105 Green Lanes are encouraging more people to get on their bikes and travel around the borough.

And while some shops have blamed the cycle lanes for a fall in revenue from which they are still struggling to recover, many cyclists disagree.

They say cyclists do use local businesses – and even if they can’t carry as much on a bike as they can in a car, they make more frequent trips to the shops.

Catherine Findlater, who lives in Palmers Green, said she felt safer using the cycle lanes to travel around Enfield.

She said: “Before the cycle lanes were put in, people would close-pass me and I would be cut off as I approached a corner or junction. That happens less frequently.

“We feel a few degrees safer – particularly as we always have a child with us.

“In terms of shopping, we live very close to Palmers Green High Street, so anything locally round here we would walk anyway.”

Ms Findlater said she now felt safe enough to cycle up to Winchmore Hill with her son, whereas before they would have to catch the bus.

She added: “I am never going to suggest the construction of the lanes did not cause disruption, but I don’t believe cycle lanes are preventing people going into shops

“You could argue that a cyclist or someone who has walked is going to be spending more time in the area – they are not going to be thinking of going back to top up the pay and display machine.”

Will Hoyle, who lives in Enfield Town and describes himself as an “occasional cyclist”, used to drive to Pymmes Park to take part in the Saturday Parkrun – but now he cycles.

He said: “For me, it is the safety. It humanises the area a lot more and reduces the speed of cars.

“I have two kids – five and eight-year-olds. They cycle down the lanes with me, but we walk round the Enfield Town section.

“It is a lot easier to shop when you are on a bike – you put your bike against a wall and pop into a shop. You are not driving round looking for a parking space.”

Mr Hoyle said he was considering getting a new bike and cycling to work.

He added that the construction of the cycle lanes could probably have been handled better by the council, but pointed out that businesses were being affected by a global downturn.

He said: “I think shops overstate the trade they get from driving. Most people don’t drive to a café – they walk or cycle.”

Palmers Green resident Clare Rogers said: “Cycle Enfield has changed people’s behaviour. There are now more women and children cycling.

“Now you can’t drive more than 20mph. We have not got the congestion, traffic is calmer and it is a more pedestrian-friendly environment.

“Before Cycle Enfield came in, I travelled everywhere by car. Now I’ve started shopping in Winchmore Hill because it is so nice to get up there by bike.”

Ms Rogers said she sympathised with shops struggling to make ends meet but pointed out that high streets were struggling across the country due to the rise of online shopping.

Cycle instructor David Hilliard said he often taught women in their 30s who had never had the opportunity to learn how to ride a bike.

He said: “Quite often you ask them why they want to learn, and they say it is because of the cycle lanes.”

Mr Hilliard added that electric bicycles, which are becoming more popular in Germany and Holland, would help people to do more shopping by bike.

He said: “I do sometimes stop off at the Little Green Dragon pub, and I do see people arriving by bike there. Sometimes you see bikes parked up outside.

“Now is not the best time of year, but as soon as the weather gets warmer it will change.”

Hal Haines, who lives in Palmers Green, said he and his two teenage daughters often used the cycle lanes.

He said: “If you want to go to Pizza Express, you just get on the bike. It is so quick – only five minutes.

“The traffic on Green Lanes used to be quite fast, and you would have to pull out in front of cars. You don’t have any of that anymore.

“To me, it is a nicer environment. It looks like a nicer place to shop.”