Woman’s plea for cycle ‘education’

Cuckoo Trail A271 crossing, Hailsham
Cuckoo Trail A271 crossing, Hailsham
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A Hailsham woman is appealing to cyclists to show consideration when riding on the Cuckoo Trail after she was involved in a collision.

Pat McCartney said she was walking the stretch of the trail between Hailsham and Hellingly where it crosses on the A271 at Horsebridge when the collision occurred.

Pat, who suffers from osteoporosis, was bruised and shocked by the incident which happened on the route which is designed to be used by cyclists, walkers and horse riders.

In a letter to the Express, she said: “I often walk the Cuckoo Trail – not with a dog but as a walker and am finding that many cyclists are riding too fast and not using the correct warning procedure. Instead of a bell there is usually a shout of some form.

“Today the shout was ‘I am coming through’ without giving me enough time to move away so clipped me and I went down. I was helped up by another walker and I was very shocked.

“In the past when walking with a friend we have been told that the trail is for cyclists and to get off it. The trail to me is for walkers, cyclists and horse riders and lots of families. Is there any way that there could be some ‘education’ concerning the rules of cycling and letting people know they are there? Are there any police or community support officers dealing with this?”

She added: “Clearly there are some fairly careful cyclists but they are somewhat outweighed by a different type of cyclist. I used to be a cyclist when younger so not at all opposed to the sport – just would like some courtesy to other users.”

Inspector Tony Wakefield, of Sussex Police, said: “The Cuckoo Trail is a national cycling route that is popular both with people with bikes and pedestrians. We have had complaints about people’s behaviour there in the past and are trying to encourage all users to treat it as a shared route.

“The trail is there to get more people using their bikes and I support the code as set out by the councils. I would encourage all users to think of others when they are using it.”

On East Sussex County Council’s website it states that ‘there are no access restrictions for walkers, disabled users, cyclists or dogs, however consider and make room for other users. Cyclists should slow down or stop when necessary and dog owners should keep dogs under control.’

A spokesman for Wealden District Council said: “We are sorry to learn of the lady’s accident, and welcome her comments.

“The Cuckoo Trail is available to walkers, cyclists and, in some sections, horse riders, but they should respect each other.

“Countryside Rangers and other council staff will warn users if they see them ignoring the code.”