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Lifting cycling ban could threaten people's safety

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 03, 2012

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ALLOWING cyclists to ride through Cheltenham town centre could threaten the safety of people with sight problems, according to a civic leader.

Gloucestershire Highways is considering lifting a ban that prevents cycling in the pedestrianised areas.

But Cheltenham's mayor, Councillor Barbara Driver, is supporting the Macular Disease Society in its bid to keep the ban in place.

Cyclists are not allowed to ride in areas between Pittville Street and Winchcombe Street in the High Street and Crescent Terrace and Imperial Circus in the Promenade.

Mrs Driver believes that allowing bikes in these areas could be disastrous.

She said: "If changes go ahead, those with a disability will feel like second class citizens who no one from the council will listen to. They will be driven out of the town centre because of safety concerns. If you cannot see or hear cyclists and you have a mobility problem, you cannot move out of the way fast enough, or at all."

The local branch of the Macular Disease Society will be protesting outside the town's Municipal Offices tomorrow at 1pm.

Members will challenge council officers to don glasses that give the effect of macular disease.

The society's Cheltenham group leader, Genevieve Matley, said its members were not "anti-cyclist".

But she added: "People should be able to walk in the area feeling safe and not worried about traffic of any kind."

Peter Godwin, from Gloucestershire Highways, said police, Cheltenham Borough Council and residents asked the authority to review the rules for cyclists using pedestrianised areas

Owen Parry, head of integrated transport and sustainability at Cheltenham Borough Council, said: "As part of the ongoing consultations, the council is continuing to feed back the concerns of residents and community interest groups to Gloucestershire Highways."

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  • Douglasknows  |  January 04 2012, 11:01AM

    Cyclists are bad enough on the road let alone allowing them willy nilly through shopping areas. However this could be good news for other towns who dont allow them in.

  • Nurdol  |  January 04 2012, 10:38AM

    I imagine that 'Cyclists Dismount' means that they can still scoot on one pedal? Otherwise the sign would read 'Cyclists must walk'.

  • Spud0  |  January 04 2012, 10:33AM

    According to the anti-cycling brigade, cyclists are already riding through these areas, so where's theall dead or injured pedestrians? I've searched TiG and can't find any reports of them!

  • pingu61  |  January 04 2012, 10:29AM

    What really irritates me about this is the fact that irresponsible cyclists are being used as excuse to deny facilities for responsible cyclists. The responsible cyclists are as much the victim of these idiots as anyone.

  • Alfredo_  |  January 04 2012, 9:53AM

    I spend a lot of time running around Cheltenham and Bishop's Cleeve. I never yield to cyclists who are on pavements, and have been clipped more than once. It is, however, the cyclist who comes of worst. I'm more than willing to step off a narrow pavement to avoid a pedestrian, but will never to that for anyone on a bike.

  • Ms_Superstar  |  January 03 2012, 7:16PM

    Des, Absolutely spot on. Signage? What part of 'Cyclists Dismount' do people have difficulty with? "Cyclists" in this context can be taken to mean anyone riding a bicycle, whether they have reached a sufficient standard of proficiency to be worthy of the title or not. "Dismount", being the opposite of "mount", therefore meaning "to get off". The infinitive form indicates an instruction or command. Clear? "Cyclists Must Be Dismounted" is a bit more complicated, as it employs the passive form, and can therefore be taken either as an instruction to cyclists to dismount, as above, or for anyone else to knock them off. But why do pavement cyclists go unchallenged? Why do so many cases of crime and antisocial behaviour go undetected? Why is Cheltenham disappearing under a mountain of filth? Because it's too much like work for the powers-that-claim-to-be to do anything about it.

  • Desenchanter  |  January 03 2012, 6:27PM

    Nurdol - if only this were the case. Now I would suggest that they introduce compulsory registration plates and 3rd party liability cover as a trade off to allowing cyclists impunity to ride into these area's. Then when a pedestrian gets knocked flying, there is a real way of identifying them, and less chance that they will just hop back on, and disappear off into the night as is the case now !

  • Nurdol  |  January 03 2012, 5:48PM

    This is nonsense. In all shared cycling/pedestrian areas it is the cyclists responsibility, and in their own interests, to avoid pedestrians, sighted or otherwise. Cyclists know that if they collide with pedestrians they will fall off, get hurt and probably prosecuted. All shared areas have to be treated with great care by cyclists. Pedestrians do not need to have macular disease to fail to see bikes coming up behind them.

  • Desenchanter  |  January 03 2012, 2:10PM

    Pingu - A great deal of people whio cycle (not by and large the enthusiasts) take no notice whatsoever of the laws in place. It is far safer to have a blanket law on the area's which have been 'PEDESTRIANISED' . It is a great failing that the authorities are neglecting (and not trying to avoid) their legal duty. Signage needs updating to show the fines clearly, and the plastic police need to earn their crust by policing these area's instead of just handing out parking tickets to stationary vehicles parked on the side of the road - oh hang on, this is a bit too much like hard work !!!

  • Takeaway22  |  January 03 2012, 1:30PM

    Has anyone noticed that TiG just keeps regurgitate old stories to fill in the pages?