Concerns over safety with Hastings cycle and pedestrian plan

From: David Henty, Ghyllside Avenue, Hastings

Cycling family. Pic Steve Robards
Cycling family. Pic Steve Robards

I read with interest your article ‘Cycle and pedestrian plan moves up a gear’.

I have serious concerns for the pedestrian’s safety with this plan. Since the aim is to encourage the use of more cycles, I wonder whether the council has fully taken into consideration the recent explosion of the sale of cycles and the ever-increasing use of electric cycles and scooters.

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The following are just a few examples of my personal experience and witness of ‘near misses’.

Along the sea-front, especially at weekends and in the school holidays, I’ve often witnessed as many as 8 out of 10 cyclists travelling at speeds far in excess of the walking pace of 5 mph.

Many young lads perform wheelies, ride with no-hands/one hand, talk on their mobiles and double up. The speeding of cyclists and electric scooters is escalating week by week. Yet not a single speed limit or warning sign can be seen, which I’ve suggested many times to the council. Along the seafront there are numerous large blue signs warning pedestrians of cyclists and to ‘look carefully both ways’. There are none that warn cyclists of pedestrians and to ride responsibly.

One really serious accident almost occurred when a very small child ran from the beach in front of the main car park towards her mother on a picnic seat on the grass verge. The child, understandably, wasn’t aware of two cyclists riding at speed at the very moment she was crossing the footpath. Her father’s ear-piercing scream stopped her in her tracks and prevented a really nasty accident.

In the pedestrianised area of Wellington Place, cyclists and riders on electric scooters weave in and out at speed through the unsuspecting public. Two no-cycling notices in that area are ridiculously small and more or less imperceptible to cyclists dodging pedestrians. It is of course illegal to ride on pavements.

Alexandra Park has no designated shared footpaths. However, it’s good to hear of plans for a separate track for cyclists in the park. I trust it will be built well away from the pedestrian pathways.

I’ve sent countless emails to the council for over a year now until the coronavirus lockdown, outlining the above experiences and concerns, as well as imploring them to increase the signage and monitor these areas.

Amongst the few replies I received, this one last June stated: “…..there has not been one serious accident reported to us along the whole stretch of the seafront, which I was surprised and pleased about.”

This seems to imply the council is waiting for a serious accident to occur before it takes action!

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