A new ban on cycling through Chichester city centre’s pedestrian precinct on Sundays is ‘not a vendetta’ according to its supporters.
Currently the public are not allowed to ride bicycles in North Street, East Street or Crane Street between 9.30am and 5.30pm from Monday to Saturday.
Responding to the increased level of Sunday trading and a rise in the number of events held throughout the year since the restrictions were brought in back in 1997, Chichester City Council submitted a bid to extend the ban to reduce the potential for conflict between cyclists and pedestrians.
West Sussex County Council received 51 objections compared to 17 letters of support, but the restrictions were extended to Sunday by the South Chichester County Local Committee on Tuesday (June 12).
Afterwards ChiCycle’s Sarah Sharp said they were ‘exceptionally disappointed’ as the reality is the ban would affected disabled cyclists more than able-bodied ones.
During the CLC meeting she said: “The report highlights that there is no evidence for the ban. Cycling levels on Sundays are below the level that makes the weekday ban necessary and cyclist behaviour is overwhelmingly considerate.
“The report also highlights that diverting cyclists on to surrounding streets has safety implications. In contrast to the central streets the nearby streets have witnessed numerous casualties.”
The Green city councillor also highlighted the lack of alternative cycling routes in Chichester.
But speaking in support of the changes, city and district councillor Len Macey explained how he was a keen cyclist himself, but added: “This is not a vendetta against cyclists. This is a matter of public safety and common sense.”
He described how figures from Chichester BID found that around 15,000 people walk through the city centre on a Sunday, with 28,000 visitors recorded on July 9 last year.
He argued bringing Sunday in line with the rest of the week provided continuity and avoided confusion.
Mr Macey added: “It’s a pedestrian precinct and by rights cycling should be banned 24/7.”
Officers said there were alternative cycling routes within the city’s 20mph zone, but acknowledged ‘some of them are convoluted, especially going east and west’.
The estimated cost for introducing the changes and amending signs is £700.
Jamie Fitzjohn, who represents Chichester South, described how although no incidents had been recorded a number of confrontations and issues ‘have happened’.
He said: “From a safety and prevention point of view I do not want an accident to be on my watch.”
Chichester North’s Jeremy Hunt added: “What we are talking about here is not a good length of area.
“All we are asking is for cyclists to be a bit courteous and push their bikes.”
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