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Pedestrians not at risk if ban is ended, insist cyclists

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 10, 2012

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CYCLING campaigners have responded to accusations that allowing riders in pedestrian areas of Cheltenham could cause injuries to walkers.

Protesters, including those with sight and hearing disabilities, have said they do not want cyclists to be allowed to use pedestrian areas in Cheltenham town centre.

But Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Cycle Campaign chairman, John Mallows, said things had got out of perspective.

He said: "Very few serious pedestrian casualties arise from cycling. When they do, they are usually on the road and as a result, I suspect, of pedestrians stepping off the kerb without checking.

"Without wanting to foster a cycling versus driving spat, pedestrians are at far greater risk on the pavements from cars."

Cheltenham borough and Gloucestershire county councils are considering allowing cyclists on the High Street and the Promenade – areas where cycling is banned.

Members of the Macular Disease Society gathered outside the Municipal Offices last week as part of a campaign against the changes.

But cyclists have argued that a change of rules would improve safety. Mr Mallows said he hoped council officers recognised the overall safety issue, taking into account the fact that cycling casualties would be avoided on the inner ring road, for example.

The county Highways department has said a trial of the new procedures, which could include new cycle lanes, would be held before the move went ahead. The authorities say police have reported difficulties in enforcing the ban.

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  • Ms_Superstar  |  January 16 2012, 12:38PM

    Wally37, The point is that the High Street is NOT currently designated as a cycle path. Even if the council were to take down the "Cyclists dismount" signs (wonder what that means?) it still wouldn't be designated as a cycle path, unless they made proper provision for bicycles and pedestrians to be safely segregated.

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  • Desenchanter  |  January 16 2012, 8:17AM

    Cheltres - there are many things which CBC is foisting upon the Chelt residents which are unwelcome. Cyclists being given free rein to terrorise pedestrians without any risk of redress is just one of them. Just because the powers that be make some dictat which we are forced to live with doesn't make it right (the stopping up of boots corner is another one) In regard to cycle lanes being the preferred choice, I take it you never ride the one on PE way. This white elephant is very badly thought out, it is disjointed, forces cycists to stop and start at every side road (even though most of them are painted as give ways for priority for the cycle lanes). In regard to the balance bike argument, we are not discussing the merits of a childs toy, but an alternative mode of transport. Cycling to be regarded as such needs to play by the same rules as the rest of the traffic or the perception of them being treated with equal status will never be attained. I would liken it to the handicap system of golf where the rubbish players are given a system which allows them to play against good players on equal footing. The rubbish players and the good ones still recognise that the high handicap ones are still rubbish though, so doesn't really address this fact. In regard to some drivers are inconsiderate of cyclists, I see this all the time between cyclists and pedestrians on the Honeybourne line. When on foot, woe betide you if you get in the way of someone making progress. You either get run over, or a mouth full of abuse.

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  • Takeaway22  |  January 16 2012, 6:50AM

    cheltres - "Oh and takeaway22, I'm with Pingu. When I'm riding on a road, I'm often looking at the driver in the car to see if they have noticed me or are on their phone. You can do that whilst cycling in the same way that a car driver does not stop to read a signpost." - So you can multitask. Isn't driving and being on the phone multi-tasking as well? The main pedestrianised areas in Cheltenham (outside Cavendish House and outside M&S in the High street) are small strips of land which can be walked in a minute or two. Are the cyclists time so precious that where they can save 30-45 seconds cycling where pedestrians are, they cant just dismount and walk the rest? Sounds to me like they want to adopt the attitude of "I cant be bothered with that". The way you have done your essay cheltres, the main point for the cyclist is down to laziness at a potential cost to pedestrian safety.

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  • cheltres  |  January 15 2012, 11:24PM

    The council aim to encourage more cycling in Cheltenham: its in the Joint Core Strategy and is one of the ways it aims to reduce emissions. We are not talking about cycling on narrow pavements (I would agree that many cycle paths on pavements are just a painted line added in space not big enough for dual use and leaves the pavement hazardous for both). These are areas wide enough for dual segregated use. As I said before, put the cycle way between the bollards up the prom for a start. For those who are saying as a pedestrian you want to feel safe on a pavement, well if you don't look before crossing those bollards already you may be hit by a delivery vehicle. Yes the signage will cost some money, and I am not in a position to judge how the Council prioritises its strategy aims. As for cycle paths making drivers think cyclists don't belong on the roads, I don't see it. Some roads are more suitable for cyclists than others and some drivers are just very inconsiderate of cyclists (and other cars) in the same way that some cyclists are inconsiderate of pedestrians. That's life. Some people do cycle irresponsibly. Is this going to encourage that? I would say not as if a cycle path is available, a cyclist is more likely to use it for more unhindered passage. So can we get away from the whole demonisation of cyclists? Cars cause far more accidents than cyclists and I don't hear drivers being treated as a group of pariahs. I like many other cyclists am also a pedestrian and a driver. Given the option I would prefer to cycle into town than drive leaving more of the limited parking for people who don't have that option and I think the council should be encouraging that. As for regulation of cycling, the problem is that at a time when the government is trying to encourage alternative transport, forcing people to have a licence is not going to help. Are you going to make my 3 year old have one for his balance bike. What about child scooters? Horses? Dogs? Roller blades? Its a pretty slippery slope. Oh and takeaway22, I'm with Pingu. When I'm riding on a road, I'm often looking at the driver in the car to see if they have noticed me or are on their phone. You can do that whilst cycling in the same way that a car driver does not stop to read a signpost.

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  • Desenchanter  |  January 15 2012, 10:28PM

    In regard to licensing Pingu, there is no reason why cycling rights could be inferred to car drivers, motorcycle riders etc on their licences by introducing a new classification. Grandfather rights would be automatic to those already in possession of either a full drivers license, or CBT certificate for existing learner motorcycle riders. If they screw up on a push bike, then the license is at risk in the same way as if they do so on with any other vehicle. Abuse it too much, and you are back on shank's pony. The same would apply to E-Cyclists who I also regularly see riding on the pavements, and through red lights in the town (hoping nobody has the nous to recognise the huge battery bolted behind the seat.

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  • Desenchanter  |  January 15 2012, 10:11PM

    Couldn't disagree more Pingu. The fact that it is not pursued doesn't mean that it is impractical to do so, just that the political will is not there yet. The laws are effectively applied to mopeds, so there is not good reason why not in this instance as well. There is a clear and demonstrable need to improve the riding standards of a great deal of cyclists, and that you consider it to not be an issue is a bit of a poor show on your part (being one of the responsible ones who do currently observe the existing laws ???? ) Regulation, and a minimum degree of competence should be attained by all users wanting to use the roads, and more importantly, that 3rd party liability cover is made compulsory so that the victims of bad vehicle operators are not left high and dry. Whilst many claim to have 3rd party cover under their house insurance, the reality is that many house insurers are now making exclusion clauses for liability arising from cycling accidents, as the risks of a claim and subsequent payouts are spiralling.

  • pingu61  |  January 15 2012, 9:05PM

    If you've been sucked into believing that getting all cyclists regulated, registered and insured is a panecea of all pedestrians problems, then you are sadly mistaken. Similar regulation already exist for the much higher powered motor vehicals, and has hardly any effect on behaviour. The cyclists who currently offend will sadly continue to offend. Without a police state, including the use of ID cards by all citizens, the introduction of such a licence or test for bicyles is simply impractical. The fact that anyone keeps pushing that idea shows how unrealistic their expectations are, and frankly undermines the integrity of their other arguments.

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  • Desenchanter  |  January 15 2012, 4:25PM

    Pingu, my gripe is when cyclists ride in an inconsiderate and/or illegal manner around pedestrians. If this group of road users were to be subject to registration and 3rd party cover, then the errant one would be disinclined to spoil it for the ones who do respect the laws put in place for the benefit of the others who share the highways with them (as they would be easier identified, and brought to book) You speak of balance, but the reality is that pavements (footpaths) were long ago designated as places which pedestrians are free to walk unhindered or menaced by wheeled vehicles (or horse drawn ones). You and like-minded people (cyclists) are presenting a disingenuous argument when implying that pedestrians and cyclists are similar modes of movement. A cycle path on a pavement steals away any notion of unhindered movement by pedestrians in that space, forces them to be on their guard all the time for fear of getting run into, and makes (some) other road users feel like a cyclist doesn't (or shouldn't) be on the road in that space with them. If you have been sucked into believing that cycle paths on the pavements to be the great pancea of all the cyclist's problems, then you are surely and sadly mistaken, and this mindset of creating badly executed good intentions, has made Pariah's of cyclists amongst the motorised users and pedestrians alike!

  • Takeaway22  |  January 15 2012, 2:04PM

    No Pingu - Your comment was "I see about 3 or 4 drivers on mobile phones per mile when I cycle around Cheltenham" This says you are cycling round Cheltenham and seeing drivers on mobiles PER MILE also indicates that you moving (it is difficult to cover miles when you are stationary at a junction). So yes the concept does seem strange to me, but you have no need to worry though. Thanks for caring.

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  • pingu61  |  January 15 2012, 1:24PM

    No Takaway - I carefully watch drivers at junctions. It's important to check that they've seen you at junction. If a driver is on the phone, they are a danger to me and I need to be aware of it. It's called observation and defensive cycling. This is especially important when they've got half a ton of metal with the power on many horses compared to an armorless human. I worry that the concept seems strange to you. Des, I am not making demands - I am attempting to balance the argument. I suggest that somebody who makes 15+ posts in this thread subject is the making selfish demands - not to mention the high proportion of anti-cyclists ranting posts whenever the subject crops up. Any chance of some balance? It is important that the needs pedestrians, especially those that are partially sighted, are addressed as well as cyclists. That is why I support clearly demarked cycle path, where cyclist may go to ensure segregation for pedestrians. Make no mistake about it.. the cycling we see in the pedestrainised area's is illegal and irresponsible and I strongly believe that they should be stopped, prosecuted and have there bicycles destroyed. However laws should not be based on the behaviour of these idiots, but on the needs of responsible cyclists and pedestrians.

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