Trial of cycling along Seaford promenade approved

Joggers on the Seaford seafont cannot use the promenade as it is covered with shingle thrown up during the stormy weather. January 3rd 2014 E01029Q
Joggers on the Seaford seafont cannot use the promenade as it is covered with shingle thrown up during the stormy weather. January 3rd 2014 E01029Q

Cycling will be permitted along the promenade in Seaford for a trial period this spring.

The controversial decision to allow the scheme to go ahead was made by East Sussex County Council this week.

It is clear the proposal has sparked a mixed reaction, with some welcoming it as a safe and healthy means of transport, while others however have highlighted the dangers of allowing pedestrians and cyclists to share the same space.

The six month trial will begin in April and covers the section of the promenade between Edinburgh Road and the Martello Tower.

The lead member for communities, economy and transport, cllr Carl Maynard, agreed to implement the shared use for pedestrians and cyclists and to put up notices to convert the promenade into a cycle track with right of way on foot.

A report to the county council said Marine Parade, next to the promenade, was not ideal for cyclists, given the presence of parked cars either side, which can conceal cyclists.

It argued using the promenade would be safer.

At the Martello Tower cyclists will rejoin the road and continue along National Cycle Route 2 via the Esplanade.

The report said this type of route had been successfully introduced in Hastings, Bexhill and Worthing, with no reported incidents.

The trial will continue over the summer months to enable its impact to be evaluated.

If the results of the trial show shared use is inappropriate, it will go back to being a footpath.

Seaford Town Council will carry out a series of surveys and interviews during the trial period to find out what people think about the scheme.

The county council will make a final decision about the cycle path after the trial.

Andy Lock, from Cycle Seahaven, said: “Marine Parade and the Esplanade are popular roads for on-street car parking, which presents additional hazards. An off-road promenade route will reduce the risk to leisure cyclists, especially for the young and less abled.

“Since Britain’s amazing cycling successes in 2013 we have seen many more people of all ages and abilities out riding and walking along the Ouse estuary path between Newhaven and Seaford; sometimes you meet several generations of one family out walking and cycling, enjoying the exercise and scenery.

“Extending the route onto the promenade will greatly improve access to a safe, level route from Seaford Martello Tower to the growing network of cycle trails in Newhaven.

“More people will be able to get to a safe cycle route without having to resort to using a car; we anticipate that many more people, especially families living in Seaford and Newhaven, will take advantage of the extension to the cycle route for a relaxing, leisurely ride this year during the coming long warm summer.

“The proposal is for ‘shared access’ across the whole width of the prom. Cycle Seahaven fully suport the ethos of a shared, fully inclusive path without the ‘automatic rights’ suggested by white lines. It will be up to everyone to share this wonderful place with mutual respect. The prom will be for leisure cyclists who keep their speed down, and definitely not for ‘racers’.

“Seaford Neighbourhood Policing Team are keen to support any initiative which makes cycling safer, especially for more vulnerable cyclists. We hope that this will do just that and encourage more people to get out on their bikes, whilst at the same time respecting the rights and enjoyment of pedestrians.”

Cycle Seahaven said would continue to work with the local policing team, Seaford Town Council and East Sussex County Council to help ensure that all cyclists respected other users in the way they rode, particularly along the promenade.