Hastings Police Force are part of the cycling problem.

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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.”

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.”

A visit to Hastings Community Contact Centre highlights the problem of anti-social cycling

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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?

Collision with a cyclist outside Jempson’s in Hastings town centre pedestrian zone.

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Above:  Scene of the crime part two.  My first collision with a cyclist outside Jempson’s, Hastings.

 

After being hit by the skateboarder in Priory Meadow and seeking help from Sussex Coast College, I found myself further developing my ‘close involvement’ with Hastings anti-social boarders and bikers, when a cyclist rode into me outside Jempson’s bakery and coffee shop.

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.

%&*!”!…

Continue reading “Collision with a cyclist outside Jempson’s in Hastings town centre pedestrian zone.”

Pedestrian Zone? Pavement cycling? Welcome to Hastings.

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.

Continue reading “Pedestrian Zone? Pavement cycling? Welcome to Hastings.”