LETTER: Consider the mobility effect

I am writing out of strong concern for the proposal by Eastbourne Borough Council to amend the cycling bylaw which has previously prohibited cycling on the majority of the seafront promenade. As an occupational therapist, I am trained to assess and ensure the function of a range of disadvantaged people and have many strong reservations regarding how this proposal will reduce the mobility of the local population.

I walked the length of the seafront today and have the following issues I would like the bylaws team to consider when they review this.

The overwhelming majority of people using promenades are couples/families with children in buggies or using scooters; and elderly people using mobility aids (electric scooters/wheelchairs/walking sticks).

If cycling is allowed, will it still be possible for two groups of these people, walking in different directions, to pass each other while a cyclist is also using the path? If it was necessary for someone to move out of the way, families with small, unpredictable children would struggle as would those with mobility aids.

The proposal does not reflect joined-up thinking with other agencies who are forwarding initiatives to promote outdoor recreation in the young and elderly population, such as Fit For Life.

Cyclists have options, they can use the road. The elderly and families with young children do not as they need a environment where they can use the equipment they need to be mobile with the security of knowing their safety will not be compromised.

It has been agreed that the council will continue to prohibit cycling ‘between the Wish Tower and the Holywell Cafe’. Unfortunately, once one area of the promenade has its access opened up, it is very hard to limit its use to areas adjoining it.

I sincerely hope the perspectives of all users in Eastbourne are taken into account as the majority require safe and easy access that is not restrictive and which will maintain the promenade’s appeal as a popular destination for recreation.

A. Cartwright

St John’s Road

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