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Opposing views peddled
11:56am Thursday 27th September 2012 in Letters
Sir.–I am secretary of the Basingstoke and Deane “Young at Heart” Over-55s Forum and we have been campaigning for some three to four years to stop cycling in the pedestrian area at the Top of The Town .
We have carried out a survey with the police who, like you, have caught out several cyclists. But the police do not have time to constantly patrol this area.
Our vice-chairman even caught a policeman riding his bicycle in this area. She also witnessed a cyclist going too fast down Church Street, and to avoid a wheelchair, the cyclist came off and hit the wall.
Our committee feel we, as officers, cannot ask these people to stop and get off because of the comments and abuse we may receive back.
We have taken this matter up with the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and the police to get cycling stopped. We have also asked BDBC for bigger “No Cycling” signs or to even paint on the floor of the pedestrian area “No Cycling”, because cyclists do not look up for signs.
The Basingstoke and Deane “Young at Heart” Over-55s Forum fully supports your efforts to highlight this cycling issue, and hopes we can work together in partnership for the benefit of all the pedestrians of Basingstoke and visitors.
–Gerald L Merritt, Secretary, Baingstoke and Deane Young at Heart Over-55s Forum.
Sir.–I do not condone breaking the law, and I do not cycle on these pedestrian zones myself. But my question is – why should cyclists be banned from these zones at all?
These areas used to be ordinary roads. They could have been made more pedestrianfriendly – and cycle-friendly – by simply widening the pavements. The original surface could have remained, suitably kerbed, in the middle for cyclists. This has worked in Winchester, so why not here?
Now, cyclists breaking the law conflict with pedestrians because there is no designated section for them. The police clearly do not have the manpower to enforce this.
In Winchester Street there has been, for many years, a cycle shop. So how is a customer to try out a new bike? Ride on the pedestrian section and break the law? Or join the one-way system on New Street and do a circuit via Churchill Way and New Road?
Basingstoke does have some cycle routes approaching the centre but these routes do not link to the centre. Cyclists join the roads and roundabouts where the traffic is busiest.
These pedestrian zones are another example of lost opportunity and unsatisfactory expenditure of public money.
–Denis McMahon, Barn Lane, Oakley.