Opposing views over cycle routes to stop illegal riding

Council bosses in Cheltenham are to set up cameras to monitor cyclists who ride on pavements in the centre of town.

In the High Street and the Promenade, cyclists regularly take to the pavement as a short-cut through town, but police say it's impossible to enforce a ban on pavement riding, and it would be preferable to use the information gathered by the cameras to create a town centre cycling route.

In January, Gloucestershire Highways began to look at plans for a cycle route, but it was opposed by a charity for the partially sighted, who said that cyclists in the town centre would discourage disabled people from visiting the area.

But cyclists argued that they had no choice, as the busy ring road around the town is too dangerous.

In September, cameras will be fitted to lampposts and seats around the town centre although the exact number and locations are yet to be decided, the Gloucestershire Echo reports (managing to get 'big brother' and 'rogue cyclists' in to its headline.

Filming will take place for a week from 7am until 7pm. Chris Riley, local highways manager, told the Echo: "We are currently carrying out further surveys of bike movements in the town centre.

"Once we have this information, we will be able to consider potential options for a future scheme."

Andre Curtis, of Gloucestershire Cycling Forum, told the paper it was time the debate over the cycling ban was dealt with.

He added: "The authorities have been talking about this for years.

"It is frustrating that it has been going on for so long.

"I can remember it being decided to allow cycling on the Promenade when it was originally pedestrianised until someone changed their mind at the last minute.

"It is somewhat inconsistent that someone can drive a truck into these areas but not a bicycle.

"It is just confusing at the moment as some of the pedestrian areas have no ban but two sections do."

In 1993, the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) published a report called ‘Cycling in Pedestrian Areas,’ the key findings of which were set out in a Traffic Advisory Leaflet published by the Department for Transport the same year.

That leaflet highlighted in bold type the finding that “Segregating cyclists from pedestrians is not always necessary or desirable.”

The report’s main conclusions found that pedestrians change their behaviour in the presence of motor vehicles, but not in response to cyclists.

Cyclists, on the other hand, respond to pedestrian density, modifying their speed, dismounting and taking other avoiding action where necessary.

Accidents between pedestrians and cyclists were very rarely generated in pedestrianised areas (only one pedestrian/cyclist accident in 15 site years) in the sites studied.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.