The Beat the Streets initiative by East Sussex County Council is a great idea.
It’s a fun way to encourage people to get out and about and be active – walking, running, cycling etc.
As a parent who loves walking and cycling anyway, I’m really enjoying collecting points on behalf of my son’s school.
However, this initiative highlights the need for better cycle routes all across Eastbourne.
It’s a wonderful idea for people to be able to cycle between the beat boxes to get points, but we need to be able to do this safely, especially if we want younger children to take part.
I live in the Old Town, where there are lots of relatively narrow roads that have cars parked on both sides, so you have to constantly look out for doors opening or cars pulling out, and with so many schools in a small area the roads are always busy and hazardous on a bike around school drop off and pick up times.
I took part in the bike ride on June 17 which was organised by Bespoke, the cycling campaign group, to promote the fun and health benefits of cycling, but also to highlight the dangers of cycling in Eastbourne where there are no proper off road cycle routes.
Cycling on the off road routes was lovely ( e.g. Cross Levels Way and the seafront from the Sovereign Centre to Fisherman’s Green) and I could really enjoy cycling without constantly watching out for cars.
In contrast, negotiating busy roundabouts and junctions where cars are given priority (e.g. Lottbridge Drove, the Sainsbury’s roundabout on Cross Levels Way), or having to cycle along busy Marine Parade was quite intimidating and certainly not enjoyable, and I would be reluctant to cycle those routes with my son.
If we want to encourage people to be more active and take part in initiatives like Beat the Streets, we need to provide the means for them to do this safely and that includes proper cycle routes all across our town and along the seafront.