August 2015 Newsletter

More than a year has passed since our elected representatives overwhelmingly voted to amend the byelaw that bans cycling on Eastbourne’s promenades. And finally, there is news. Time to break out the bubbly? Not so fast! While the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have given a green light to the change – and Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) voted last week to “seal the byelaw”, there is yet another hurdle to cross!

The proposed change has now been advertised locally (28th July) for a month, during which objections can be made to the DCLG. If the letters page in the Eastbourne Herald is anything to go by – “AUDACITY OF CYCLING GROUP UNBELIEVABLE” etc. the “antis” will be out in force. So once more – and hopefully (surely) for the last time – we urge you to write a few words in support of safe seafront cycling by the end of August to:
Byelaws Team
Department for Communities and Local Government
Zone 3/J1, Eland House
Bressenden Place
London SW1E 5DU

Thanks! If the byelaw change is confirmed, EBC and ESCC will start work on modifications and signage, and next year Eastbourne will finally join 125 other British seaside towns, which sounds like about all of them!

A couple of weeks ago we had a chance to compare and contrast Eastbourne’s approach to cycling with our more progressive neighbours, Bexhill and Hastings. We led a ride along the coast from Towner Gallery to De la Warr Pavilion and Jerwood Gallery. Jessica Courtney-Bennett, co-ordinator of the new Coastal Culture Trail, joined us, as did folk from Bexhill Wheelers, the Classic Cycle Group and Hastings Urban Bikes.

In all, there were 26 of us, and it was a great day out. Everyone managed the 15-mile ride with ease, on ordinary bikes in normal clothes and no-one suffered punctures or mechanical issues – see the video! However, the ride highlighted some serious infrastructure issues that, if solved, could turn the route into a genuinely safe route for families, or anyone from the age of 8-80:

Eastbourne’s busy and dangerous seafront road
The gyratory system in Pevensey Bay
Parts of the narrow, twisty Sluice Lane in Norman’s Bay
Cars parked in the cycle lane at Cooden.
We invited lots of our elected representatives from along the route, but unfortunately none were able to join us on the ride. Many thanks to Councillor Margaret Bannister, who came to Towner gallery to see us off.

Still, we will carry on lobbying, and may try to organise another Coastal Culture Trail ride in the autumn. Do come along to our monthly meetings, upstairs at the Crown and Anchor, Marine Parade at 7.30pm on the third Tuesday of each month – the next one is on Tuesday 15th September. The more the merrier.

Further afield – things are looking up for people who ride bicycles or walk in Tunbridge Wells, thanks to fellow campaigners, TWBUG. And the ever-brilliant Chris Boardman has made a great video about the transformative effect of bicycles in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

Safe summer cycling!