I was hoping that by mid-November 2015 I would be able to bring you news about cycling on part of Eastbourne’s promenade. But no! Two and half months after the final invitation to comment/object, a year and a half after councillors overwhelmingly voted to lift the byelaw that prohibits cycling and 21 years on from Eastbourne’s “cycle strategy”, there is still nothing to report. Well there is one thing – one of our Tory councillors (Cllr Blakeborough) seems to think things are moving too quickly, and wants to delay proceedings!
We he be able to throw a spanner into the seized machinery? We will find out tomorrow (Wednesday 18th November) at the Full Council meeting at Eastbourne Town Hall. If you’re around, do come along and support the cause – it’s a public meeting and we’ll be there from about 5.45pm. A quick e-mail to your local councillor might make all the difference.
Maps and e-Bikes
We have been busy distributing the latest version of the Eastbourne Cycle and Leisure Map, via bike shops, the tourist office, libraries etc. It felt good to be asked to supply 600 to Brighton University’s Eastbourne Campus – every new student got one as part of their welcome pack. Students and staff will soon benefit from a small fleet of electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes), which will have docking points at the railway station and the campus in Meads.
The latest e-bikes are brilliant – ideal for hilly terrain and longer commutes. This website provides a useful overview. We’ve heard that a new e-bike showroom is opening soon in Eastbourne. I have have been trying to persuade Anne-Marie Field from the Eastbourne Herald to try one for a week and write about it – instead of complaining about traffic jams.
E-bikes are very popular in the Netherlands and Germany, where cycling has been made so safe and convenient that it’s a viable means of transport for all sections of society – as explained in this excellent article. Improvements are being made here – the new cycle route along Ashford Road is promising, as are the upgrades to the station forecourt, but we have a long way to go, infrastructure-wise. Jasmine, aged 10, makes some very astute observations about cycling in Eastbourne in this wonderful video.
As the evenings draw in, it is vital to be visible. But still we see (or don’t see) people pedalling along in dark clothing without lights. So last month we set up shop (gazebo) on Terminus Road and gave out lots of LED lights and hi viz vests. Thanks to all who gave up their time and to the Community Environmental Partnership for Eastbourne (CEPE). It seemed to go well – a lot more positive comments from passers by than negative ones..
Lights will be central to our next event – an illuminated mass ride and march on Sunday 29th November. It will be be part of the Global Climate March ahead of the crucial conference on climate change in Paris and another public call for safer cycling in Eastbourne. We will be gathering on the Wish Tower slopes by the RNLI museum from 3pm. You might want to come earlier to join Scott Doane for some balloon snowman-making(!) from 2pm. We will then cycle to Sovereign Harbour, still on the road to Fisherman’s Green 🙁 and back. Marchers will take the prom. Decorate your bikes with lights and, marchers, bring lanterns – it should be a wonderful event. See you there!
Safe autumnal cycling
PS do join us for our monthly meetings – this evening (17th November) upstairs at the Crown and Anchor from 7.30pm. The next one is on Tuesday 15th December – same time, same place.
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