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Prom Wars! Now it's Worthing and this time the cyclists are winning

Worthing prom cycle trial given go ahead… but cyclists urged not to spoil it by speeding

There has been yet more controversy over cycling on a promenade – this time in Worthing, after a 12-month cycling trial has been given the go-ahead despite fears for the safety of children walking on the seafront.

Recent spats have seen cyclists banned in Portsmouth and Weymouth, and a speed restriction imposed in Bournemouth, on what is always a contentious issue. But it would appear that on this occasion councillors have come down on the side of the cyclists.

The Government has sanctioned a change in bylaws to allow cyclists on Worthing prom between Splash Point and George V Avenue from Friday, August 28, when new signs will be in place.

But the issue has divided Worthing, with critics suggesting the promenade should be for walkers only, and fear an accident similar to one which happened some 15 years ago when a woman pedestrian suffered brain damage in a collision.

The council was forced to pay out more than £100,000 in damages and the cycle lane between the Lido and George V Avenue was scrapped.

Cycling campaigners say that far more cyclists have been killed and seriously injured on roads since then, and the council has decided on mixed use of the promenade instead of a designated lane, as well as rejecting calls for a speed limit, claiming it would be unenforceable.

Jim Davis, Chairman of Worthing Cycle Forum and Worthing Revolutions cycling campaign group Jim Davis said: “Obviously we now need to focus on promoting safe cycling. The whole point is to enjoy the prom and not to treat it like Manchester Velodrome.

"The problem with having a speed limit is it calls for additional signage and it is also difficult to police and enforce. What's needed is a campaign to make people aware that the prom is for everybody - the prom is there to enjoy, not to get from A to B quickly.
Councillor John Rogers, the borough's cycling champion, said the trial was great news and it would be monitored and a report presented to the council after a year. But he did warn: “If people want it permanently they have got to behave themselves.”

The CTC would like to see more promenades in the UK open to cyclists and advise local councils to make their decisions with consideration for pedestrians and other users of the area and to look at how it works in other places.

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