LETTER: Shared use is lunacy

By definition, promenade is described as ‘a walk or stroll’. It is quite noticeable that the majority of promenaders in Eastbourne are elderly. As people grow older they get less mobile, less steady on their feet. They have poorer eyesight and hearing and are more likely to rely on walking sticks. The Eastbourne prom, with its width, creates a pleasant environment for walkers old and young.

Now, some element in our community has decided to turn the prom into a cycling track – for that’s what will result. The idea to me is lunacy.

The Highway Code states: ‘Drivers, motorcyclists and pedal cyclists should recognise that not all pedestrians are able to behave predictably, or in accordance with the rules of the Highway Code. Children, for example, do not have the road user experience or self-control of adults. Older people and those with disabilities may have difficulties in seeing or hearing approaching traffic, accurately judging speed and distance and may not move as quickly as some drivers would expect. Other road users, therefore, should exercise greater care when pedestrians are nearby, and be prepared for unexpected actions by the pedestrian.’

The National Cycling Charity records that between 2009 and 2013 the number of pedestrians killed by cycle was 14, and the number seriously injured by cycle was 334.

There are no recorded incidents of deaths and serious injury to cyclists by pedestrians – so cyclists are safe, it’s only pedestrians who run the risk.

By allowing cyclists to use the prom what restrictions will apply and how will they be policed? Will bikes be restricted by type – will racing bikes, tricycles, tandems, cycle trailers and motorised cycles be allowed?

Also why not motorised and ordinary scooters?

More importantly, what level of competence, ability and skill will be required of the rider to of the rider to manoeuvre through ambling pedestrians on a busy day?

Age will be an important factor. Young people and teenagers generally are less tolerant of their elders than middle-aged and elderly cyclists,

Will groups of cyclists be permitted? What will happen on the foreign market days?

Having decided on these issues – how much will it cost and who will police and administer the project?

Eastbourne has always had a cyclist-free prom so why change? If it’s for the minute number of cyclists who would like to take over the prom as a cycle track then let them, not everyone else, pay for the privilege. Introduce a scheme whereby only cyclists licenced by the council will be permitted to use the prom and that would resolve many of the problems and control numbers.

If I had a choice I would say no – leave the prom for the benefit of the people for whom it was built. Pedestrians. But if the council does go ahead, remember to increase the public liability insurance.

E. McClung

Sovereign Harbour North

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