Lifting cycling ban could threaten people's safety
ALLOWING cyclists to ride through Cheltenham town centre could threaten the safety of people with sight problems, according to a civic leader.
Gloucestershire Highways is considering lifting a ban that prevents cycling in the pedestrianised areas.
But Cheltenham's mayor, Councillor Barbara Driver, is supporting the Macular Disease Society in its bid to keep the ban in place.
Cyclists are not allowed to ride in areas between Pittville Street and Winchcombe Street in the High Street and Crescent Terrace and Imperial Circus in the Promenade.
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Mrs Driver believes that allowing bikes in these areas could be disastrous.
She said: "If changes go ahead, those with a disability will feel like second class citizens who no one from the council will listen to. They will be driven out of the town centre because of safety concerns. If you cannot see or hear cyclists and you have a mobility problem, you cannot move out of the way fast enough, or at all."
The local branch of the Macular Disease Society will be protesting outside the town's Municipal Offices tomorrow at 1pm.
Members will challenge council officers to don glasses that give the effect of macular disease.
The society's Cheltenham group leader, Genevieve Matley, said its members were not "anti-cyclist".
But she added: "People should be able to walk in the area feeling safe and not worried about traffic of any kind."
Peter Godwin, from Gloucestershire Highways, said police, Cheltenham Borough Council and residents asked the authority to review the rules for cyclists using pedestrianised areas
Owen Parry, head of integrated transport and sustainability at Cheltenham Borough Council, said: "As part of the ongoing consultations, the council is continuing to feed back the concerns of residents and community interest groups to Gloucestershire Highways."