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Cheltenham installs cameras to monitor pavement cycling

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.

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orpen | 11 years ago

A typical case of a local paper getting the story wrong – not deliberately I hope. The County and Borough councils have realised for several years that pedestrianisation can clash with other strategies by leaving no way for cycling across towns apart from undue detours and/or mixing it on the inner race tracks / ring roads. We can often cope - but not so for the less skilled, including those the councils want help get on their bikes. Like other campaigners across the country we want a permeability for cycling catering, in different ways if necessary, for a range of cycling competence, whilst not constraining cycling to dubious routes and 'facilities'. Whether cycling can be re-introduced (and let’s not forget that only a few years ago most pedestrian areas were motor mayhem) in a town centre depends as much on culture as on laws and infrastructure. This has been recognised by various public forums in which we participate, although the disabled lobby is usually averse to cycling full stop. But others, including the police, are keen on a trial period of making the pedestrianised sections, as some already are, ‘de-motorised’. We offered to do before and during surveys: instead the Councils decided on video, but not, as the newspaper indicated in its headline, as a ‘clamp down on rogue cyclists’. We are not resolutely for cycling if the trial reveals serious snags, in which case something else will need to be done. Interestingly the police now recognise the problem, if there is one, as being about anti social yobs, who flout a cycling ban regardless, rather than cycling per se. Better to have considerate cycling as a moderating factor, hopefully helping to bring about the continental culture where this pedestrianisation conflict just isn’t a big issue. Note I’ve been referring to ‘cycling’, rather than ‘cyclists’: group labels can cloud the debate, as in the serious injury incident at Holborn Viaduct elswhere on the forum.
John Mallows, chair, cyclecheltenham, policy director cyclenation.

Simon E | 11 years ago

Do the cyclists in Cheltenham ride with jousting spears? Otherwise, I don't understand the big fuss.

Bearing in mind the safety issues mentioned regarding traffic on the ring road, it sounds like that is where the cameras should be!

John_the_Monkey | 11 years ago

I guess we just have to bang on and on about it being a war on the hard pressed British cyclist, and they'll remove them, right?

mrmo | 11 years ago

and just noticed the polite question i placed on cbc's web page questioning priorities has been deleted. Oh well, nice to see democracy alive and well.

mrmo | 11 years ago

As a local i want to know a couple of things, if the council has all this money, what are they doing about the boy racers on the race track on Sunday nights? what are they doing to solve the bottle neck at boots corner, what action do they intend to take regarding the former Odeon site, Tripura House, Baylis motors, What are there plans for regenerating the lower high street and the derelict buildings there, which i believe they compulsory purchased. When will there be a safe route for cycling from Cleeve to the town centre. What is the council doing about ensuring the police take bicycle theft seriously? When are the council intending to repair the roads and fill in the thousands of pot holes?

Then again it did take 40years to redevelop the St James Railway station site, and they have been talking about boots corner/ lower high street for decades.

So nothing new to see CBC wasting money.

mooseman | 11 years ago

As a local I find it pretty daft that cyclists can't use the prom. It's the safest cut through from the centre.

Here's hoping.

JohnS | 11 years ago

I'd be rather more bothered by all those ugly vehicles cluttering up the view of the council offices and preventing pedestrian access.

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