Cyclists should be allowed on the promenade, we just need to learn how to share the space

24/10/13- Cycling along Bexhill Promenade ENGSUS00120131024135552
24/10/13- Cycling along Bexhill Promenade ENGSUS00120131024135552

From: ian hollidge, College Road, Bexhill

Bexhill’s 1902 motor racing event saw cycling give way to dangerous, polluting motor vehicles. 1912 Bexhill banned cycling, only pedestrians could use the prom, cyclists sharing with motor vehicles.

UK traffic volumes increased from 100k in 1910 to over 38 million today. Road widths, rules, driver behaviour have not changed, vehicles growing in size becoming a visual / physical obstruction to cyclists. Motor only roads have been created without considering similar quality or available space for cyclists. Cyclists should not use footways as their carriageway. Laws are clear no person should ride or drive on a footway/pavement, they should use the road/carriageway. Recently Transport Select Committee proved the main danger to pedestrians are vehicles not cyclists.

For over 100 years’ transport planners have focused moving people, goods and services by roads using motor vehicles. Now there is a positive revolution supporting cycling.

Moving to Bexhill in 1985 I found it odd you couldn’t cycle on Bexhill’s promenade. Authorities said it would never be allowed. Some had a vision but only few. The 1997 Edwardian Legacy was launched recreating a cycle track along the promenade. Bexhill Cycle Forum was formed. Detailed designs for an off-road cycle track followed.

Although never built, there were great ideas in these and other projects. Our town has grown unconnected with no overall vision, similar to Johnny Cash’s one piece at a time. Many didn’t see the benefit in creating a destination cycling route and the part promenade cycling would play. A lack of ambition from some, however RDC issued a mission statement to create a Bexhill Cycle Network, at last an opportunity for a green future. Promenade cycling was given a year’s trial after byelaw working group, overview and scrutiny, cabinet and full council. After successful trial, permission allowing cycling with pedestrian priority given in 2013. Supported by Bexhill’s Youth Council, debates about shared, separate and segregated space were considered with views from each user. I strongly argued for clear signage and a speed limit, concluding it would be impossible to enforce. A rogue cyclist intent on causing trouble would do so whatever the rules. Aim is to encourage cycling not criminalise those who wanted to use promenade sensibly, many who were elderly and couldn’t or didn’t want to drive, wanting to keep fit.