Meads Conservatives have disappointed Bespoke by printing a newsletter against cycling on Eastbourne promenade.
The latest issue of “In Touch” reads…
Lifting the by-law that currently prevents cycling on the promenade would encourage many more cyclists on to the promenade. Currently, the law abiding cyclist refrains from using the promenade.
The Borough Council is responsible for the safety of pedestrians and lifting the by-law would present an enormous risk.
The Lib Dem proposal to lift the by-law will do nothing to improve safety of cyclists on the road and will potentially put children and elderly people at risk of serious injury as the numbers of cyclist using the promenade increases.
Your Conservative team for Meads is committed to prevent the lifting of the byelaw as we believe that the Promenade will be safer for pedestrians without cyclists.
The Conservatives wrote the newsletter with the 2015 Eastbourne Borough Council elections in mind.
In 2014, Conservative controlled East Sussex County Council presented plans for cycling improvements. These improvements included allowing cycling on part of the promenade. A 1995 Eastbourne bye-law restricts cycling on the prom, and needed changing. The County Council asked the Liberal Democrat controlled Borough Council to approve this change.
A public consultation took place, and over 700 people participated. The seafront route met with a public approval rate of 73%.
Eastbourne Borough Council held a vote in full council to approve the change to the bye-law. There were only two votes against this change, and these were from Meads Councillors Barry Taylor and David Elkin. Other Conservatives enjoyed a free vote, and either voted for the proposals or abstained.
Bespoke contacted Eastbourne Conservatives to see if a ban is now official policy. We received the following reply.
This issue is a free vote so the Councillors would be free to represent their community as they please. The Meads Councillors would vote against it however as the community is against lifting the bylaw. I can’t speak for how the other Conservative Councillors would vote.
Bespoke does not share the views expressed in the newsletter, and we’d like to address a few of the points raised.
The newsletter photograph shows the candidates standing where cycling is to remain banned. The only part of Meads ward affected would be the upper promenade between the Wish Tower and Terminus Road. The lower promenade there, and lower and middle proms to Holywell from the Wish Tower would still not permit cycling.
Allowing cycling on the promenade gives cyclists the choice to avoid a busy and dangerous road. It is wrong to expect children to ride on this road rather than the traffic free promenade. When complete, there will be traffic free route all the way from Meads to Sovereign Harbour.
Bespoke have also shown why chevron parking on Eastbourne seafront is dangerous to cyclists.
Neighbouring towns allow cycling on their promenades. Seaford is the latest town to allow promenade cycling, after a very successful trial period.
Safety is raised as a concern. Government research has shown that there are no real factors to justify excluding cylists from pedestrianised areas, suggesting that cycling could be be more widely permitted without detriment to pedestrians. Cyclists respond to pedestrian density, modifying their speed, dismounting and taking other avoiding action where necessary. Accidents between pedestrians and cyclists were very rarely generated in pedestrianised areas (see DfT Ttraffic Advisory Leaflet 9/93 – PDF). There is also an excellent study on cycling in pedestrian areas that backs up these statements.
Cycling Should Be Promoted
Cycling is one of the best forms of exercise. It’s suited to all ages.
The elderly can keep joints supple and help prevent Osteoporosis. Cycling keeps weight off the knees so you don’t have support your body weight.
Cycling helps keep you young. It reduces blood pressure and keeps cholesterol low.
In a nutshell, cycling is good for you and should be encouraged.
We hope Meads Conservatives will reconsider their view. Bespoke is always happy to meet up and address cycling concerns.