Cheltenham cyclists respond to protests over proposals to end town-centre bike ban
Cars present greater risk to pedestrians, and new measures would take cyclists off ring road, say campaigners
Cycle campaigners in Cheltenham have replied to concerns by the town’s mayor and a charity that works with the visually impaired that allowing bikes to be ridden through pedestrianised zones in the town centre may put disabled people at risk.
Last week, the Macular Disease Society held a demonstration outside the town’s Municipal Offices against the proposals, which have been put forward by Cheltenham Borough Council and Gloucestershire County Council.
But John Mallows, chairman of Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign, told This Is Gloucestershire that the potential problem was being exaggerated and that motorised traffic posed a greater danger to safety.
"Very few serious pedestrian casualties arise from cycling,” he explained. “When they do, they are usually on the road and as a result, I suspect, of pedestrians stepping off the kerb without checking.
"Without wanting to foster a cycling versus driving spat, pedestrians are at far greater risk on the pavements from cars."
Mr Mallow also urged the relevant authorities, in considering whether to lift the ban on cycling in sections of the High Street and the Promenade, to take account of the larger picture in respect of safety, including the fact that the proposed measures would reduce the risk of injury to cyclists who currently have to use the ring road.
The newspaper added that Gloucestershire County Council’s Highways department plans to undertake a trial, possibly including new cycle lanes, ahead of any permanent changes being put in place, and that police have said they have problems enforcing the existing ban.