A big problem with Alexandra Park Cycle Route

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I apologise if I get anything wrong in this article but I can barely think these days and in a lot of pain.  I’m writing to express my concerns over the Alexandra Park cycle route.

If you are one of the few who have ever read this blog, you will know I have been in contact with ESCC and Hastings Council/Town Centre Management who have been slightly unhelpful.

Mike Hepworth, assistant director of Environment and Place wrote a report about the Proposed Designated Cycle Route.  It is dated 4th of January 2016.  We had email communication after this date where he said that he was fairly new to the job.  Given that he knows about the problems with people cycling on pavements and through the pedestrian zone, I am surprised that the Alexandra Park route is dumping cyclists onto the Queens Road roundabout.  This will add to the volume of antisocial cycling and the issues should be tackled first, before allowing more people to cycle in to the town centre.  In our emails I raised this very issue.  It seems that Hastings Council are interested in promoting cycling in the town but not willing to sort out any of the issues, going back more than 10 years, of antisocial and illegal cycling.

The problem with Alexandra Park Cycle Route in pictures

Let’s have a look at what these berks are not just proposing but which looks likely to go ahead very soon.

Additional:  After I had made a start on this piece, I took a break to visit my mum.  On our return journey we were driving down the road below, in about the same position as the silver car, when a cyclist came from the pavement on the left and without stopping rode straight in front of a car turn off of the roundabout and passed in of us, on the other side of the road and headed into Alexandra Park.  This is something I see frequently, though this was a new order of hazardous.

 

Above:  A quiet day on the roundabout.

Above:  Bypassing the pedestrian crossing AND on a bike.  All too common.

Above:  Another cyclist bypassing the crossing.  The Alexandra Park Cycle Route will encourage this behaviour.

Above:  Returning to the pavement.

Above:  This is the other side of the path running under the bridge from Alexandra Park.  Commonly in use by cyclists.

Above:  Another cyclist fresh from Alexandra Park?

Above:  This behaviour is increasing and the Alexandra Park cycle route will make it worse.

Above:  Further down the pavement and an old couple have to step aside to let these girls through.

Above:  I’ve personally witnessed an older couple being verbally abused by a cyclist for telling him he shouldn’t be on the pavement.

I’m fed up with bad arguments about Alexandra Park cycle route

I could continue down the pavement in pictures as I have enough pictures to stick together and make a video!  As you can see though, there is a real problem here.  The route dumps people onto those very same ‘unsafe’ roads that everyone is taking to the pavements to avoid.  I’m afraid that I’m not very convinced by the rhetoric of the unsafe road argument nor of the appeals to childhood obesity that campaigners are pulling out their backsides.

Let’s have some real solutions to the problems of cycling on pavements.  Talk of monitoring the park route on it’s opening is just pacifying rubbish, said to calm people’s worries.  We all know that it won’t last and then the problem will remain of people cycling wherever they want or speeding as they already do.  I’ve never seen any monitoring of the cyclists who speed on the seafront route and that route is itself problematic, dumping volumes of bikes into the pedestrian zone and onto the pavements.

A picture is worth a thousand words.  9 pictures is even better.

Hastings ‘no-cycling’ signage is not up to the job thanks to ESCC.

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I first contacted East Sussex County Council (ESCC) about the disappearance of some no-cycling signs somewhere around 2010.  There was at the time a lot of pressure from pro-cycling groups for cycles to be allowed in the pedestrian zone and I remember very clearly that over the course of a night, some of the signs disappeared.  Others were turned so that they were facing towards the shops and weren’t visible.  I wrote to ESCC and let them know but nothing happened to the signs.  I’d noticed the removal of the ground signs, stating no-cycling, from certain areas around town at the same time and I had asked where they had gone.  I think the painted ground signs are very effective at alerting people to the cycling status of an area.

Above:  A no right turn sign that was out of action for over three months due to its being painted over.  Read below.

Then in 2015, I contacted them again to let them know that a sign had been painted out.  A no-right turn sign where Pelham Street becomes Harold Place, behind the town centre toilets.  I had pointed it out to Community Support Officers, Police Officers and Hastings Council workers and thought one of them would inform the correct authorities.  Three months later and more and more cars turning right, I contacted ESCC and told them about the sign.  I also reminded them about the cycling signs but they didn’t reply to me, though within 36 hours the sign had been cleared or replaced.

During my communications with Town Centre Management (24/04/2016), I was told:

‘Since my last email to you I haven’t been able to find any more information from colleagues here at the Council or at ESCC about the removal of signage in the town centre’ and that was as far as Town Centre Management could or would help.

I emailed the Labour Councillors for Castle Ward, Sue Beaney and Lee Clark but neither of them responded.  I eventually got in touch with Dominic Sabetian of Braybrooke Ward but there appeared to be no constructive way to approach the issues raised.  I was forwarded this email from his colleague Sue Beaney as she had raised a query with East Sussex County Council as ‘other residents of our ward who have also had this kind of problem.  This neatly summarises the County Council’s position, although you might not find it very reassuring.’ (Email Communication with Councillor Sabetian). Continue reading “Hastings ‘no-cycling’ signage is not up to the job thanks to ESCC.”

Dangerous Cycling – The Nightriders of Hastings

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Above:  David Hasselhoff and his KITT cycle.  David is asking cyclists in Hastings to stop their dangerous cycling, fit lights or get Hoff their cycles after dark.  Thanks Dave!

 

I feel like I’m going mad.  Am I the only person who is noticing this?  I’m talking about the sharp increase in the number of cyclists who are riding after dark without lights.  Yes, cycling without lights.  After dark.  Both on the road and on pavements.  Why is no-one doing anything?  Why are the police driving past these cyclists without stopping them?

I’m afraid my phone camera is not really up to the challenge of night-shots so please excuse the poor quality images.

Above:  Our theme.  Dangerous night time cycling.  He is about to cross the road using the pedestrian crossing without warning.

 

You won’t find the pro-cycling groups talking about this.  They’re certainly campaigning for more safe zones for cyclists but part of what makes the roads unsafe is the complete lack of awareness of what makes for safe cycling.  I’ll have to post on that.  The way people use the roads is horrific.  Talking to school age children has revealed that none of them has undergone cycle training.  It wasn’t even offered!

In the course of my enquiries, I discovered that the secretary of my property management company had a close encounter (third paragraph down) with a cyclist without lights.

Lest you read this and think I am the Anti-Cyclist, know that I am a cyclist who currently can’t cycle.  And a pedestrian.  I am also ill and have been hit hard by cyclists a number of times.  Cyclists without lights is troublesome for me as a pedestrian, more so as an ill one.  It makes cyclists so much harder to see when they are on the pavements and they are increasingly on the pavements.

Continue reading “Dangerous Cycling – The Nightriders of Hastings”