News and cycling on footpaths

Dear fellow members and friends 

This newsletter is out especially early – thanks to Roger’s swift reporting.

Joyce, in her new role as Campaigns Organiser, has written to Robin Reed of the council’s Transport Initiatives with our collective response to the Lewes Road consultation, taking into account all the points people have raised with her. The proposals are welcomed but she emphasises the dangers caused by parking in cycle lanes where enforcement will be critical. She suggests that the Level to Gyratory section should be included within 20 mph limit and argues the need for an advance cycle box at traffic lights entering Gyratory from the south. Other points are the need for monitoring of the impact of Sainsbury’s entrance/exit on the cycle path and of time delays on phased traffic lights. She reports that some members have questioned whether cycle lane might not be better away from Sainsbury’s, as proposed some years ago. The option for separate cycle and bus lanes is supported. To see the full submission click here.

The consultation ends on 25 May so there is still time (just) for anyone who has not already done so to take part in the on-line consultation, supporting Joyce’s submission and adding any other points you think are important. To see details of the plans and make your response go to www.brighton/hove.gov.ul/lewesroad.

After reading Anthony Young’s article about cycling on pavements in the last Bricycles newsletter, Roger contacted him via Becky Reynolds to ask his view on cycling on public footpaths. Here’s what he had to say. The last paragraph in particular is worth pondering.

Cycling on countryside public footpaths isn’t illegal in the sense of being a criminal act in which the police might get involved and you might be fined. However a cyclist or horse rider who uses a country path over which there is a right of way only for pedestrians is committing a trespass. As such, it may be described as unlawful, but it is a civil issue between the miscreant and the landowner.

There are rarely any practical consequences though. Landowners don’t necessarily care, and even if they do, their only redress is to take civil action against the trespasser for the cost of any damage caused. So they need the name and address and they must prove that their property was damaged and that it was this trespasser who damaged it. That would be very hard to do, so it is rarely attempted.

However cycling on footpaths does have adverse consequences, in heightening ill feeling towards cyclists. The great majority of complaints are from walkers, although it is really none of their business. They generally complain to the council, although it is none of the council’s business either (unless it owns the land). The solution would be to reclassify suitable footpaths as bridleways. But in practice the prospects for agreement to rights of way enhancements, funding for cycle paths etc. are significantly diminished by the ill feeling caused.

Changing tack, I think many will be surprised at the views on the Pavilion in this week’s extract from the 1895 Clarion. It reminds us how much perceptions and tastes can change over a century or so.

Any offers for rides from 29 July onwards?

Ian

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