Prom wars: Ipswich Star calls for cycling to be allowed on Felixstowe prom

Sudden outbreak of common sense

by John Stevenson   July 17, 2013  

Felixstowe prom (copyright Gerry Balding:Flickr)

Like many seaside towns, Felixstowe has a bylaw prohibiting cycling on its promenade. And as in many seaside towns, the rule is ignored because the prom is often quiet and provides a route across town free from motor vehicles.

Now local paper the Ipswich Star has called for a change to the by-law to permit cycling at quiet times.

In a feature on the paper’s website, it says: “It’s time cycling along Felixstowe prom was permitted. So many people are now doing it, it doesn’t make sense for it to be outlawed – just controlled properly.

“Most cyclists don’t even realise they are breaking a by-law.”

It’s hard to tell that there’s currently a by-law, the paper says as there are no signs at the points where cyclists are likely to enter the prom. As a result, the rule is not so much treated as a guideline as ignored completely.

The paper says: “During our almost daily walk along the prom – we do it at least four or five evenings a week – one night last week we spotted 15 cyclists and six barbecues on the beach (also banned). Walkers? Around a dozen.

“The prom is wide enough for sensible cyclists and walkers, and most riders would not be reckless on such a route.

“Most are cycling at times when there is no-one, or very few people, walking. I know several people who work at the port and use it as their route for an early morning shift.”

The reasoning and fear behind such by-laws is always of people riding bikes recklessly through crowds of holidaymakers. But the paper realises very few people on bikes are that daft.

“I cannot believe anyone would cycle the route on a Sunday afternoon when it is packed with people enjoying a post-lunch stroll. Or while there is a major event taking place. There would be no fun cycling then anyway.”

The article closes with the suggestion that the by-law be amended so that cycling is allowed on the prom before 9.30am and after 4.30pm, and that riders should be required to cycle at a moderate or slow speed and keep well clear of  pedestrians.

However, one commenter on the story points out that no-one pays any attention to the existing by-law, so why would new one be any more effective?

It might be simpler just to allow cycling and let people’s commonsense take care of the rest.

3 user comments

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My understanding is that because this area is not alongside the carriageway so is not by default illegal to cycle on it(Highways Act 1835) so a bylaw is required which the article states to be the case, however, I thought it is required to display signage to show that cycling is not allowed citing the bylaw that makes it so. No sign means the bylaw is surely unenforceable as how is anyone to know?

posted by cbrndc [13 posts]
17th July 2013 - 13:24

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Having walked the prom at felixstowe a few times, it is rarely busy enough to warrant a ban.
The only times it is really busy is July and August during school holidays, and even then you could in theory cycle it by using caution.

posted by LegalFun [8 posts]
17th July 2013 - 20:53

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There's no problem with the status of the prom, occasional cyclists/kids use it without problem.

Not sure what the evening star is up to, probably trying to put restrict cycling to certain places. It's a horrible local rag run by a few opinionated old boys constantly banging on about hard done by motorists.

posted by IanW1968 [207 posts]
19th July 2013 - 10:09

3 Likes