AS a life-long cyclist I have to express my delight at the borough council’s decision to create new cycle routes in and about the town, as well as to improve existing ones.
Such measures to promote cycling, both as a pleasurable form of exercise and a cheap and reliable mode of transport, must surely be welcomed by the community at large.
The benefits of cycling both to the individual and to the general environment are so self-evident that I hardly need catalogue them here, but improved fitness, economical travel, and carbon neutrality rank highly amongst its major attributes.
It is to be hoped, therefore, that the sole sticking point concerning the proposed schemes, namely the inevitable questionmark over the full funding, can be overcome despite huge pressures on budgets in the present economic climate.
Cycling campaign group ‘Bespoke’ is very much to be congratulated for the part it has played in raising the profile of cycling in the town and for the work it has done in conjunction with Eastbourne council to develop a two-wheel strategy for the borough.
Its aims and objectives are very laudable and have my full personal support, although I do have doubts about its vision of more children using bikes between home and school.
The ideal is fine but the reality, I fear, is a little different.
Over many years as a schoolteacher I witnessed a dramatic decline in the number of pupils cycling to and from school.
This decline was very much in inverse proportion to the burgeoning use of motorised transport, and clearly parents were becoming more and more concerned at exposing their children to the ever increasing hazards on our roads, preferring to drive them to the school gates.
The vulnerability of anyone on two wheels coupled with a child’s comparative lack of experience of the roads can be a lethal combination which is bound to make parents think twice about sending their offspring to school independently by bike.
Children should certainly be encourage to cycle but only in a very safe, preferably off-road environment.