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Rogue cyclists in Cheltenham - big brother is watching you

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: June 22, 2012

A cyclist rides among pedestrians along the Promenade

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CAMERAS will be set up around Cheltenham to keep an eye on cyclists.

Shire Hall bosses are installing the machines later this year as part of their efforts to tackle problems between bike riders and pedestrians in the High Street and the Promenade.

The areas are currently no-go spots for cyclists but are still regularly used by the two-wheelers.

And in just 15 minutes, the Echo was able to snap seven cyclists riding along The Promenade, including people doing wheelies.

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Now the county council is stepping in to monitor the issue in the hope of finding a solution.

The video survey will not start until September – nine months after highways chiefs first agreed to look at the issue.

Under the plans, cameras will be fitted to lampposts and seats around the town centre although the exact number and locations are yet to be decided.

Filming will take place for a week from 7am until 7pm. And the council admitted it would not be using the footage to catch cyclists breaking the bye-laws.

Police claim it is too difficult to enforce the current ban.

They believe allowing cyclists to use the pedestrianised areas would mean they can concentrate on the rogue cyclists.

Chris Riley, local highways manager, said: "We are currently carrying out further surveys of bike movements in the town centre.


"Once we have this information, we will be able to consider potential options for a future scheme."

Among the ideas being considered are maintaining the ban and enforcing it or designating a cycle route through the middle of the pedestrianised area.

Disabled groups have spoken out against the second option, claiming it could lead to blind and deaf people being injured by cyclists. Andre Curtis, of Gloucestershire Cycling Forum, said it was time the debate over the cycling ban was dealt with by officials.

He added: "The authorities have been talking about this for years.

"It is frustrating that it has been going on for so long.

"I can remember it being decided to allow cycling on the Promenade when it was originally pedestrianised until someone changed their mind at the last minute.

"They need to press ahead with this survey as soon as possible now."

Mr Curtis said the current system simply lead to confusion for everyone involved.

"Most of these areas have vehicles using them anyway," he said.

"It is somewhat inconsistent that someone can drive a truck into these areas but not a bicycle.

"It is just confusing at the moment as some of the pedestrian areas have no ban but two sections do."


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  • Ms_Superstar  |  June 25 2012, 11:27PM

    @Chainsawuser: "When I ride it on my bike I'm always amazed by the number of pedestrians that cross the road right in front of me forcing me to stop. Would they do this if a car or bus was approaching ?" They would, actually. And often do.

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  • chainsawuser  |  June 25 2012, 10:51PM

    I ride through the centre of town regularly and always travel the back alley behind the old Echo office. As other people have commented there is always broken glass around. However, parked cars / vans blocking access are a rare event in my experience. If the road is blocked I have always managed to squeeze past. I prefer to ride this route rather than through the pedestrian area. More of an issue for me is the stretch of road leading up to the pedestrian area of the Promonade (from Leisure Lakes and past Boots). This one way road is open to all traffic. When I ride it on my bike I'm always amazed by the number of pedestrians that cross the road right in front of me forcing me to stop. Would they do this if a car or bus was approaching ? I doubt it, so why cross directly in front of a cyclist ! In my opinion, the council would better off spending the money on educating pedestrians on how to cross the road safely !!

  • saw442000  |  June 24 2012, 11:24PM

    Another week, another trolling cycling article. The Prom "shortcut" is a joke for a ban anyway given that it has a delineated route used by many other vehicles. Will be interesting to see what they do about the "rogue" flowerman van that cuts through every night - maybe he might even get his own headline! If it is safe enough for buses to use as a diversion during roadworks then it is safe enough for bikes. If the Council are going to cut off the natural / safest routes across town what do they expect. The legal alternative to this route, travelling south, is the narrow two way back lane behind the Echo offices which usually has parked vehicles blocking both ends and is permanently strewn with broken glass. I would even prefer to use the Honeybourne Line cyclepath to bypass the whole area but that became unusable due to people failing to keep control of their dogs - no one willing to enforce the byelaws there either. What exactly is going to happen when they pedestrianise Boots corner if the thought is that these sort of large paved surfaces cannot be shared at all? Congrats to the Echo for getting some new photos anyway but surely they could have managed to get one where the pedestrians look a bit more bothered by the situation. Perhaps they have more important things to worry about than how the cyclist going past them is contributing to the downfall of modern society. Maybe they might even just maintain eye contact / spatial awareness and get on with their lives like they do in the rest of World!

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  • gallopingbear  |  June 24 2012, 9:12PM

    I have lived in a lot of areas, and none have had as many cycle lanes as Cheltenham does. I find it outrageous that despite these provisions, so many cyclists just charge through people and seem to think they have a right to do so! Yes it is a danger and people DO care. People have been killed by cyclists (I can post examples of this), many children and old people knocked over and many dogs been hit and suffered broken legs. The worst pavement-hogs tend to be middle aged men which I find pathetic. To the person who takes his young children through town on the pavements-great! Not only do you endanger pedestrians but you lead an entourage of wobbly, inexperienced cyclists who are even more likely to hit someone! My partner and i once had a student stop and threaten us on Bath Road because, after he almost ran into the back of us on the pavement, we didn't move aside to let him pass us. I would love to see GCC enforce the £35 penalty for riding on the pavements. It's great that so many people cycle across town to get about, but please, MAN UP and stick to the plenty-wide-enough roads and cycle paths. If it's a dangerous stretch of road then get off your bike and walk, and teach your children to do the same. You would be angry if it was YOUR grandmother that got knocked over.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  June 24 2012, 10:05AM

    Cyclists are allowed on a pedestrianised area.......you get off your bike and walk like all pedestrians. Problem solved.

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  • barnt  |  June 24 2012, 9:29AM

    Shocked that the council focus on banning a better form of transport rather than providing the infrastructure to improve and encourage cycling in and through town (including allowing cyclist on a pedestrianised area). Currently to get from one side of town to the other you have to negotiate the one way system which is quite dangerous especially with kids in tow - would the council want a childs death / injury on their hands due to this ban? I'd like to see some routes which would enable me to feel happy to ride into town with my family reducing the level of traffic in town, plus I'd like to see some form of secure parking for bikes in town too which reduces the amount of cycle theft. Come on council there are bigger issues than banning cyclists.

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  • martinol  |  June 24 2012, 8:38AM

    If this is about safety when is the council going to sort boots corner? what are the council doing about boy racers on the ring road every sunday night? What are the council doing about making sure there are safe cycle routes between Cleeve and Cheltenham? What are the council doing about the pot holes and rubbish strewn across the towns streets? But no, rather than doing anything constructive, going after cyclists is easy, making Cheltenham's roads safer is harder. So what does the council do, it goes after the easy option. And yes there are dangerous cyclists, but how many drivers break the law everyday, most, how many more drivers are there than cyclists? lots, and we wouldn't want to infringe drivers right now would we, after all there are more drivers voting than cyclists? Oh and i do drive for the record.

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  • Ms_Superstar  |  June 23 2012, 4:17PM

    The only vans I've seen 'taking a short cut' along the paved section of the Prom have been Cheltenham Borough Council vans engaged in street cleaning and maintenance, and are driven very slowly, with due deference to pedestrians.

  • lynton99  |  June 23 2012, 10:56AM

    The vast majority of vans going along the prom aren't delivering there, they are just taking a short-cut like the cyclists. If you are going to ban the cyclists you will need to ban the vans as well. There is a loading bay at one end of the pedestrianised area, but I guess the van drivers are just too lazy to use it. The bigger lorries tend to park in Post Office lane and block the cycle lane there, making it very dangerous to try and get past them - 6ft 6" wide bollards should stop that, and make it a safe cycle route. Put bollards across the prom and it will be problem solved

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  • Nogman  |  June 23 2012, 10:19AM

    True, the Highway Code isn't law. That's why traffic offences aren't crimes. But failing to obey the rules can make you legally culpable in the event of an accident. Perhaps I should start driving like a loony on the grounds that the Highway Code (which we all have to be able to answer questions on before being given a full licence) is only advisory.

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