Fears raised over “dangerous” plan to allow cyclists on Gorleston prom

A busy beach and promenade at Gorleston.A weekend of warm and sunny weather.May 2012 Picture: James

A busy beach and promenade at Gorleston.A weekend of warm and sunny weather.May 2012 Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2012

A county-wide campaign group has warned that a move to mix walkers and cyclists on Gorleston's popular prom could be 'dangerous' and put pedestrians at risk.

The Norfolk branch of Living Streets - a national group which works to create safe public space for pedestrians - has voiced its concerns, after community leaders agreed to lift a bylaw banning bikes from the town's lower esplanade.

The move means cyclists will be free to pedal along the picturesque pathway from May to September.

But John Peacock, chairman of Norfolk's Living Streets, felt putting bikes and walkers on the same stretch of pavement could result in collisions, 'frightening' near misses and 'brushing past' incidents.

He said: 'We normally agree to these sorts of things where the pedestrian flows are fairly light, where we draw the line is where there are going to be heavy pedestrian flows, that are very likely on Gorleston seafront between May and September.

'We really don't feel this is a suitable place to be having this sort of experiment.

'Gorleston prom is a lovely place to be in the summer, I have been down there many times myself. When you're down there you like to be able to relax, you don't want to be looking over your shoulder wondering where the next cyclist is going to be flying out from.'

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Mr Peacock stressed Living Streets was not 'anti-cyclist' and said the majority of two wheeled travellers were sensible and abided by the rules - but there were a number who did not and posed a threat to pedestrians.

He also questioned how authorities would keep an eye on the pedalling scheme - which is being brought in for a trial period - in order to review it, especially as many incidents between bikes and pedestrians are not reported.

'I'm pleased to hear it's going to be a trial. What concerns me is how they're going to monitor it,' he added.

The proposal to revoke the bylaw was put forward by Gorleston's Area Committee at the end of last year and rubber stamped at its meeting last week.

Trevor Wainwright, chairman of the committee and leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said people had been cycling on the prom - despite the bylaw - for many years without incident and assured people it would be monitored.

'There's no history on any accidents down there,' said Mr Wainwright.

'This is a trial period from May to September and we'll review it after that. We put the idea out to the area committee and many residetsn came along and were generally very supportive. It is something we can monitor.

'There will be signage to make everyone aware and we encourage people on foot and on cycle to be wary of others.'

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