Above: The police were in the town centre for over an hour sitting in their car. Numerous bikes road past but they did nothing but keep warm.
On the 16th of April 2016 I received a response to from Barry Chandler, Neighbourhood Policing Team Sergeant, to an email I had sent detailing some of the problems I have had with cyclists and the issues I think need to be dealt with.
I have read your email to the police and I am sorry to hear that you have been involved in several incidents involving cyclists. You mention that a number of signs in the town have been obscured or removed by the council and you are indeed correct in stating that this makes the job of enforcement even harder. It is the duty of the council to notify pedestrians and cyclists regarding the areas of the town which should not be cycled through.
A few thoughts.
The duty of enforcement is made harder by not having any police patrolling to enforce the law. Enforcement is made harder again by those occasional patrols not enforcing the law. I had heard a long-term Community Support Officer giving wrong advice to an elderly couple who’d had to avoid a cyclist and drawn his attention to said cyclist. He said he was entitled to cycle on the darkened town centre paving that signal the access route for vehicles. Wrong. I have never seen a police officer stop a cyclist in Hastings Town Centre. As in the featured photo at the top of the page. They just sat in the car for an over an hour and didn’t stop a single cyclist who went past. With ‘action’ like this, it’s no wonder that people are getting the wrong idea. Continue reading “Hastings Police Force are part of the cycling problem.”
I saw this guy come shooting down the pavement on the left (22/02/2017). I wasn’t quick enough with my camera and so I have the only have him cycling off. He turned sharply, without warning onto the crossing and had to slam his brakes on but it was only the quick reactions of the car approaching that meant he didn’t get hit. He cycled off without even apologising to the driver or looking in his direction. Obviously embarrassed.
This is a dangerous crossing. I consistently see cars driving straight through in the same direction of the car in the photo. It needs to be made safer as I frequently see pedestrians almost hit by cars.
This is not a one of incident. I see dreadfully stupid cycling all the time and it’s only getting worse. I can’t get anyone to listen. If you can help, please contact me.
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.
Above: Hastings Community Contact Centre. First stop when looking for help.
Shortly after my second cycle collision, I went seeking advice at Hastings Community Contact Centre to find out who could help me. After a short wait, I was told to go and sit at one of the counters to talk with an adviser. I ended up having a very nice discussion and it was most interesting to find that the adviser had herself been hit by a bike. She told me that she was aware of the problem (encountering it head on, as it were) and she gave me the name of Rob Woods at Hastings Town Centre Management. She informed me that many people have complained about the issue but nothing is ever done and so she did not hold out much hope for me getting anywhere and yet it was worth a go.
Talking for any length of time is quite difficult for me so I came away pleased that I had managed to stay on track and wasn’t unduly tired. I had a name, even if the address on file was wrong (which I was to discover).
The next day I made a phone call to the managing agent of my property and, as the subject matter was nuisance neighbours and antisocial actions, I ended up having a fairly lengthy discussion with the secretary. I mentioned my two crashes with cyclists and the skateboarder in Priory Meadow. I mentioned having lots of trouble on the fairly recently extended Hastings and Bexhill waterfront cycle lane, to the degree that using the promenade during the summer is too much effort. And that, though I used to enjoy a stroll in the dark during the winter, the promenade wasn’t safe now due to cyclists without lights and that I’d had enough close calls to give up walking it, unless it was extra cold or blowy – in which case, no cyclists!
The secretary then told me that as part of the team who put on Beatles day, she had been coming off the Pier at night and had a close call with a cyclist. She said that she completely understood where I was coming from, as it was exceedingly dark in places and the cyclist in question was not using lights so she had no idea he was coming. From the close call she had, neither had he been aware of her.
A bike outside the Community Contact Centre highlights the nuisance cyclist problem in Hastings Town Centre
A day or two later, I met my dad in town. I’d been in the Community Contact Centre (side of the Town Hall) trying to get a correct address for the town centre management. I remember coming out, seeing my dad and as we walked towards each other, a cyclist whizzed in front of us. Yes, in the no-cycling, no signs (at the time!), Priory Meadow.
I looked at my dad, my face ripe with disdain. I probably extended some expletives (about the cyclist) and then proceeded to tell him about my visit to the Town Hall and my conversation on the phone.
‘…so that’s one skateboard in the ankle and two bikes hits and some close calls. I’ve seen two small children in the last 2 months almost have their faces smash into bike tyres. No word of a lie, no exaggeration – one incident, outside Jempson’s, there can’t have been more than 2 inches between the girl and the tyre. She was only 4 or 5. The other girl was more 4 than 5. She was trying to hold her younger brother who was straining to pull away. It was near Costa, on that darkened paving that cyclists seem to think is for cycling. Younger brother pulled – she was yanked in front of an oncoming bike going what you’d think was a reasonable speed but given the distance between her wheel and the child, wasn’t. 6 inches max, between her and the front tyre. And amazingly, no apology from the woman on her bike and the mum apologises to the woman and has a go at her daughter. Like outside Jempson’s. Cyclist looked ashamed but then realised they were getting of the hook because the parent had a go at the child and apologised. What is wrong with people!
So anyway, that’s one skateboard in the ankle and two bikes hits and some close calls. I’ve seen two small children in the last 2 months almost have their faces smash into bike tyres. Then I go into the town hall to…and the adviser has been cycled into. And the secretary at the property management company..works at Beatles day..close call..etc.’
‘I know someone to’, says my dad. A friend of his.
What is going on here? And why will no-one do anything?
Above: Scene of the crime, part 3 – Antisocial cycling in Queens Road, Hastings. I was taking a photo of the cyclist you can hopefully see on the pavement ahead. The foreground is exactly where I was hit again.
If your reading this in any kind of order then guess what…Yep, I got hit again.
So yep, I was hit again towards the end of 2015. A cyclist on a mountain bike collided with me, opposite the bus stop by Morrison’s (on Morrison’s side). He was too quick for me. I could see him coming from a distance and thought I’d given him enough room but as he got closer, I realised he was going to collide with me. He made no attempt to slow down and thus the cycle-tango ensued, my dance partner flubbing his role and leaving me to take the full weight of his body and bike.
The usual angry, articulations ensued from this dangerous, speeding pavement cycler and continued as he rode off. The usual badly in pain, limping home, 3 weeks of recovery all over again.
But remember…the perception of the risk (#) is far greater than the risk of collision itself.
He came ‘flying’ around the corner of Jempson’s, having cycled down past the toilets and heading into the town centre. This is an area that is unsigned, despite my already having called East Sussex County Council about the lack of signage. I’ll return to their hopeless signage in another post.
As I had already discovered, verbal abuse on the part of the person crashing into me would be an integral part of our close contact.
Unusually for me, I decided to venture into the town centre pedestrian zone. I walked up from the square in Priory Meadow, unsurprised by the Bmx’s whizzing past. People have come to treat this as ‘how things are’. No-one raised an objection or even looked surprised.
I wasn’t surprised to see cyclists speeding across the pedestrian zone. A serial pavement cyclist that I have come to recognise, decided to cross the road, even though the light was green and cars were trying to use the road. This kind of arrogant act really winds me up.
Above: This is the same area that I saw the cyclist today. It appears that there is no more traffic wanting to cross the road, unlike today. And yes, she has been cycling through the pedestrian zone.
There were plenty of other cyclists passing through at speed. There were a number of familiar culprits.
Above: A postcard of people on bikes, merrily breaking the law, in Hastings. Not available for purchase!
A postcard scene of Hastings to show the subject matter of this blog. Whilst I wrestle with internet problems from moving providers, the wordpress blogging (beast) platform and my illness, I was mucking around and came up with this.
Most of these cyclists are probably, blissfully unaware that they are a real hazard to many folks, or even that they are breaking the law. Hastings Council has proved unwilling to do anything. East Sussex County Council are equally unaware and unwilling to do anything. The police. Local politicians. Is anyone paying attention? I won’t rant anymore. That will come later!