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Extension of cycling ban in Worcester city centre 'an embarrassment'

Campaigners say city is 'going backwards' when it comes to active travel...

Cycling campaigners in Worcester say that plans by the county council to extend the hours of a ban on people riding bikes in the city centre show that it is “going backwards” when it comes to active travel.

Under the proposals, both cars and bicycles will be banned from the centre of the city between 10am and 6pm, reports Worcester News.

Dan Brothwell, the chairman of local cycling campaign group Bike Worcester, said “While towns and cities up and down the country are making changes to enable and encourage active travel and are reaping the rewards of all the benefits this brings, here in Worcester we are going backwards.

“I find it difficult to believe that Worcester retailers are happy to have customers discouraged from visiting because they arrive by bike.

“There’s evidence showing customer spend increases where active travel is encouraged,” he added.

Until now, cars and bikes have been banned from pedestrianised areas from 10.30am to 4.30pm. with the new rules extending it by two hours each day.

Cllr Alan Amos, cabinet member for highways at Worcestershire County Council, insisted that the extended ban would improve the safety of pedestrians and make the area “more enjoyable” for them.

“This measure is long overdue and will make the city centre not only much safer for pedestrians but also a much more enjoyable experience,” he said.

“This is particularly important at this time when we need to encourage people to get out and about in the High Street and spend money to keep businesses going.

#“There is absolutely no need whatsoever for any vehicles to be going through busy pedestrianised streets at these times.

“We have been working with the police as breach of these rules is a criminal offence,” he added.

However, Mr Brothwell said it is “an embarrassment” that cyclists are subject to the same ban as motorists.

“If this is being done under the remit of safety, it is not supported by evidence,” he said. “Pedestrians remain at far higher risk of being hit by a motor vehicle, and the consequences are far worse.

“You only need look to the pages of the Worcester News to support this. In short, this is an embarrassment.

“Worcester is being used as an example nationally of how not to transition to a more sustainable city.”

The ban on motor vehicles does not apply to those belonging to the emergency services or Royal Mail vans, and market and street traders have access to Angel Place and the High Street, while buses and taxis can use Angel Place and the High Street.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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wtjs | 3 years ago

Most of this topic has been taken up by responses to the resident pair of nut-jobs. It saves time on reading as I don't have to bother with anything by them or responding to them, but is replying to them in the public or site interest?

brooksby replied to wtjs | 3 years ago

This has all escalated since I last checked the site... Whilst I think Glen Cs attempts to engage with Socrati are laudable, I feel it only really demonstrates that Glen has too much time on their hands and needs a hobby (maybe go for a ride?). It is really not worth bothering to engage with Socrati, I fear.

Luca Patrono replied to wtjs | 3 years ago

It's in the interest of the site, or at least the people running the site, because they drive engagement and comments. That's why the worse of the two will never be banned. It's kind of like how modern video games use exploitative and manipulative practices to drive engagement - it's all about the metrics now. And it'll continue as long as people who should bloody well know better keep feeding trolls.

I'm on the fence about Boo, but there should be no one left on this site who doesn't realize that SocratiCyclist is a troll. His aim is to waste your time and get a rise. You are not educating him by posting pages of elegant counterpoints, you are giving him what he wants. You are not damaging him by posting little snarky replies to his top-level comments, you are demonstrating that you are still biting little fish. Filter and move the hell on. I even posted a damn filter so that this rubbish wouldn't have to continue in every damn thread on this site.

Captain Badger replied to Luca Patrono | 3 years ago

They'll not be banned because (I think) they haven't broken any rules. 

But you are right about SC, and I also agree about BOOHOO. I say this as someone who has been dragged into their silly games on more than one occasion. 

The pair of them are just time-sucks. No more! I'm going to pay more attention to my hobbies.....

Hirsute replied to Captain Badger | 3 years ago
1 like

Does anyone know if there are rules apart from not being anti semetic?
At least one of them would have been banned on other sites.

hawkinspeter replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago

I doubt there's any specific rules, but racism and abusive comments are usually enough to get you banned. Pissing off Dave is also a good way of getting banned.

I think there's a difference between a good old debate that happens from time to time and the absolute rubbish that is continually spouted by two particular trolls. I think they're making this site a lot less fun to visit as the comments are just taken over by post after post of illogical, hate-filled, unpleasant rants (when they could be filled with pictures of squirrels instead).

Captain Badger replied to hawkinspeter | 3 years ago

Or badgers...

Captain Badger replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago

This is in the Ts & Cs

"User-submitted content

Visitors  may post reviews, comments, and other content: and submit suggestions, ideas, comments, questions, or other information, so long as the content is not illegal, obscene, threatening or personally abusive, defamatory, invasive of privacy, infringing of intellectual property rights, or otherwise injurious to third parties or objectionable and does not consist of or contain software viruses, political campaigning, commercial solicitation, chain letters, mass mailings, or any form of spam. You may not use a false e-mail address, impersonate any person or entity, or otherwise mislead."

I don't believe that either have breached these.

A number of folk have been saying "Don't feed the Trolls", and mea culpa I have been guilty of this. SC particularly hasn't got their leg over since their teens (Oh come on, I mean a bike! jeez!). I don't really know why they spend their time here, except maybe they get some attention that they don't get at home.

mdavidford replied to Captain Badger | 3 years ago

Well the 'objectionable' bit seems like a fairly broad net that would allow the crew to ban anyone they got fed up with. I think some here would argue they could fall foul of the 'spam' stipulation too. 

Captain Badger replied to mdavidford | 3 years ago

True, but I'll probably fall into the objectionable bracket too...

Glen C | 3 years ago

In principle, wouldn't it be logical to apply the hierarchy of responsibility and accept that walking may be the optimal solution for a defined retail area? The logic might then prioritise cycling and scooters for a wider area around that - on the basis that these individuals can travel a bit further at a lower 'cost' to the individual than for pedestrians. This would deliver separation of cycling infrastructure from pedestrians and would need to be facilitated by secure parking for cycles - to facilitate walking for the last few hundred metres to the city centre - and with cycling superhighways enabling those travelling beyond the town/city centre to continue their journeys unimpeded. Motor traffic could then be displaced to say 3 - 5 miles beyond the centre, facilitated by Park & Ride schemes and bike/scooter hire. Ring roads that circumnavigate the centre will provide the opportunity to avoid delays for those who require it. Combined with additional charges for those driving inside the central zone (eg for residents etc), along with enforced 20mph limits and road design that mitigates against driving faster, should help to deter unnecessary car usage and encourage the shift to more active travel modes.

Spokesperson | 3 years ago

Looking at all the comments here, it is pretty depressing that most people are responding in earnest to two of the trolls who haunt our pages. You don't need to do this. We know the justification for being able to cycle through these spaces, and so do these trolls. Don't cast your pearls before swine.  

CarlosFerreiro | 3 years ago

At best it's all just piecemeal, pollicy on the hoof. These kinds of decisions need a broader view. 

National and presumably loacl policy is to increse cycling trips. This ban will reduce cycle trips. So if it is justified, part of the decision should also involve what else needs to be done to overcome the negative effects and produce an increase.

Thinking about that, and the issues and knock on effects those changes also bring might make it clear that the ban actually is more trouble than it is worth. Or it might find a way to manage the wider area so the ban has less negatives. Or it mightmake councillors think about not jumping in with one hobbyhorse if they don't have/like the answers to those wider issues?

Hirsute | 3 years ago

You can cycle to work, but not cycle home. OK.

How many establishments are open after 5 ?

Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago

I presume they have added plenty of monitored & secure bike parks on the edge of the restricted zone?

What do you mean they haven't?  I'm shocked I tell you - shocked. 

Capercaillie | 3 years ago

As they're allowing both buses and taxis on two of these "pedestrianised" streets, this ban is nuts and can be driven by nothing short of virulent anti-cycling dogma among the councillors. Private cars were banned from Exeter High Street many years ago but both buses and cyclists are still allowed. Although the pavements are very wide, the road area doesn't feel like a safe pedestrian space at all and that's very much because of the noise, pollution from and physical presence of the buses. If Worcester really cares about protecting pedestrians, then ban all motorised transport first. They'll probably find a cycling ban won't be needed.

eburtthebike | 3 years ago

Cannot some local cyclist demand the justification and data behind this decision?  They can't just make decisions without some evidence and proof that letting cyclists in is in fact dangerous.

The DfT did some research into this many years ago (10/20 years?) and found that there was no reason to ban cyclists in pedestrian areas, but what do they know compared to local councillors.

mdavidford replied to eburtthebike | 3 years ago
eburtthebike wrote:

They can't just make decisions without some evidence and proof that letting cyclists in is in fact dangerous.

Unfortunately, I think that's demonstrably untrue. They can make whatever decisions they like, whether they make any sense or not, and as long as the electorate continue to vote them back in, will continue to do so.

David9694 | 3 years ago

I think we've seen the Worcs CC attitude to cycling before. They clearly need to uncouple bikes and cars. 

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