LETTER: Cycling group shocked at girl’s injury on seafront

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Bespoke is shocked to hear about the appalling behaviour when a child was run over by two cyclists. We hope she recovers soon.

There is a huge variety of people who cycle, not just a tiny minority of anti-social louts. And many more people would cycle but don’t because traffic seems dangerous.

The busy seafront road was the scene of 17 injury-collisions (cyclists hit by cars) reported to the Police between 2005 and 2011. Yet most of us could cycle. Think about European cities. Think of the reduction in pollution and congestion. Bespoke have produced clear safety tips for cyclists and motorists on www.bespoke

cyclegroup.org (and yes: cyclists shouldn’t jump red lights!). Cycle parking and good safe routes are needed too.

There is an epidemic of ill-health related to lack of exercise. As a surgeon, I have seen massive increases in dementia, stroke, diabetes, depression and hip fractures, yet regular exercise reduces your future risk of each by 30-50 per cent.

Eastbourne is a lovely, compact, sunny place to cycle. There are economic benefits of not running a car and lower-income or shift workers can access work and young people can get to education more easily. Cyclists often stop to shop (having saved £60 per tank-full of petrol). Every cyclist saves a parking space.

Eastbourne is blessed with miles of seafront which is mostly wide enough to accommodate everyone. The narrow section between the Pier and Redoubt is only 1/2mile. Although this passed the council’s ‘safety assessment’ for cycling in 2013, careful attention to design and maximising width is needed along with cooperation. Bespoke is committed to working with Eastbourne Borough Council, East Sussex County Council and other groups on a solution that works for all users of the seafront. Other British seaside towns have found normal people cycling to be very civilising.

Scarlett McNally

Chair Bespoke cycle group