Herald Opinion: Improvements for cyclists shouldn’t be made at the expense of existing road-users

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AS THE price of petrol continues to soar it’s hardly surprising that more people are, literally, getting on their bike to save a few pennies.

Combined with the need to go easy on our dwindling levels of fossil fuels and the host of health benefits of cycling, it appears the humble push-bike is undergoing something of a renaissance in these straightened times.

So, the borough council’s decision to dramatically improve and extend the town’s network of cycle paths is great news for the burgeoning numbers of cyclists.

There is clearly a genuine need in the town, as demonstrated by the fact the number of people travelling to work on or school on foot or by bike in Eastbourne is higher than the national average.

Cycle paths to schools, colleges and out-of-town industrial estates are a fantastic addition to any town, and should be encouraged if the money can be found.

But, and it’s a very important but, the new cycle paths shouldn’t prove a headache for pedestrians and motorists.

Brighton’s botched seafront cycle path is a perfect example of a badly-designed route which is unpopular and a danger to both cyclists and pedestrians.

And spare a thought for the beleaguered motorist.

Despite the efforts of the government and councils across the country to discourage people from driving anywhere near a town centre, large numbers of people do still use their cars and shouldn’t be marginalised in a rush to improve two-wheeled transport.

Some workers don’t live close enough to their work place to walk or cycle, or others (especially in rural parts of the county) are miles from their nearest railway station or bus route.

Cyclists unquestionably have a tough time of it on our roads, and improvements are needed, but shouldn’t be made at the expense of existing road-users.

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MORE good news for fans of non-motorised transport with the council’s support for horse-drawn carriage rides during the summer and early autumn.

Few people would oppose such an attractive addition to the town, which will brighten up seafront and make it an even more special destination.

But as with the cycle paths, let’s hope it doesn’t cause problems for motorists.