Planners point out that cyclists already use footpath without mishap to pedestrians

Essex County Council has defended plans to allow cyclists to share a pavement with pedestrians through a busy junction in Colchester, pointing out that bike riders already do so with no reported incidents.

The proposed cycle route runs from west Colchester into the town centre and would see cyclists officially allowed to use the pavement on the south side of Crouch Street West at the junction with Rawstorn Road, as well as the underpass to the opposite side of Crouch Street, reports the Essex County Standard.

Some people attending a public display of the plans last Friday expressed concerns that the plans, which have the backing of the sustainable transport charity Sustrans, could result in pedestrians being put at risk.

However, Paul Cansdale of Essex County Council who helped design the proposed route said, “We carried out a survey and at the moment, about 115 cyclists a day are using the underpass, albeit illegally, with no accidents.

“We would be encouraging a mutual consideration policy,” he added.
The scheme would also see a cycle route passing behind car parking spaces on Crouch Street East, thereby allowing cycle access to Head Street and Colchester town centre.

The newspaper reported that ward councilor Bill Frame, while generally in support of the scheme, was worried about the underpass, saying, “Hopefully, people will be courteous and dismount, although it would be difficult to enforce that.”

Should the plans be approved, the scheme is due to be operational by March 2011.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.