Cyclists likely to be banned from Stevenage town centre

Cars can get closer to shopping area than bikes, claim

by Mark Appleton   March 1, 2011  

Stevenage, pic by Robin Hall.jpg

Stevenage Borough Council is planning to ban cyclists from pedestrianised areas of its town centre, reports the BBC.

Jim Brown from the Cyclists' Touring Club in Stevenage and North Hertfordshire told the organisation he was 'slightly mystified' by the order which he believes is designed to prevent people cycling in a place where they should not be cycling anyway.

"The strange thing is that Stevenage is supposed to be supporting cycling and has had a cycleway network since the 1950s, but we seem to have ended up with a situation where you can get closer to the shops by car than you can by bike," he said.

However, Labour councillor in the town, John Gardner, maintained that it was only 'popular belief' that cycling was currently prohibited throughout the town centre.

"Actually under the traffic regulations, not all of [it] was covered so this regularises the position throughout," he said.

"The majority of cyclists in Stevenage do not cycle in the town centre. It is only a small number of people who make life very, very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for both the young and the elderly and maybe even the able-bodied on occasions."

He told the BBC that Stevenage remained bike friendly. The banning proposal is currently out for consultation with local retailers but is likely to be enforced in April. 
 

6 user comments

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The solution is to do what has now been done for the Thames (Cycling and Walking) Path at Southwark and has been signposted at Pitlochry for over a decade. Sadly the UK TSRGD manual fails to deliver an official wording or pictogram but the Hong Kong Signs Manual (originally from same sources) does deliver signs and management regimes for Pedestrian Priority over all wheeled traffic.

This is a simple sign and the Highways Act 1835 with the usual well considered thoroughness of the time delivered s.71, where a user of a carriage (the bicycle was defined as a carriage in the late 1800's followed by the motor car in the early 1900's) could be prosecuted for riding or driving furiously - generally to the alarm and discomfort of the pedestrian traffic.

We desperately need an officially recognised sign and regime to deliver Pedestrian Priority on shared routes (Southwark) in public spaces (Stevenage) and in large car parks. Any MP's looking for an idea for their private member's bill allocation? Any local council care to develop the pilot as a by-law? Any supermarket or multi storey parking operator, or airport consider introducing this regime on a private site?

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [486 posts]
1st March 2011 - 13:07

7 Likes

Same situation in many towns. Developers even put cycling parking in places where councils say you shouldn't cycle. They'd be crucified for putting car parks in places you can't drive to, so why not for bike parking?

posted by a.jumper [706 posts]
1st March 2011 - 15:20

3 Likes

"The majority of cyclists in Stevenage do not cycle in the town centre. It is only a small number of people who make life very, very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for both the young and the elderly and maybe even the able-bodied on occasions."

Exactly the same could be said of cycling on the roads of Stevenage. The town was badly planned so that all types of road use has been vigorously segregated. As a result drivers and cyclists seem to be very uncertain about how to behave around each other. There have been several times when I have cycled through town on stretches of road where there are no cycle tracks or the cycle tracks are useless to me and find myself coming into conflict with drivers who just don't know how to deal with a cyclist because they so rarely see them.

posted by CotterPin [64 posts]
1st March 2011 - 17:49

3 Likes

Truth be told, Stevenage is a bit of a dump and there's one less reason to go now.

Only joking, errr, sort of!

Smile

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2207 posts]
1st March 2011 - 19:20

3 Likes

There are various examples of 'Pedestrian Priority' on the CycleStreets Photomap:

http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/16515,22338,25909,14992/

If cycling is not banned in a place like Cambridge, where there are masses of cyclists, and sharing the space works acceptably, why ban it in Stevenage?

http://www.camcycle.org.uk/newsletters/70/article3.html
http://www.camcycle.org.uk/campaigning/issues/cyclingban/

posted by cyclestreets [3 posts]
1st March 2011 - 20:16

4 Likes

The variety of 'Popular Belief' is a clear indication that few people actually know for sure if council proposals have been introduced or is still in discussion. I was once shouted at by an angry pedestrian who's dog ran in front of me, saying that: 'There's a sign over there clearly stating No cycling!' When I got 'the sign' it said nothing about cycling, however, it stated all dogs must be on leads... Perhaps people just like to use 'popular belief' to back their opinion.

posted by Celeste08 [38 posts]
4th March 2011 - 9:20

6 Likes