Pedestrians not at risk if ban is ended, insist cyclists
CYCLING campaigners have responded to accusations that allowing riders in pedestrian areas of Cheltenham could cause injuries to walkers.
Protesters, including those with sight and hearing disabilities, have said they do not want cyclists to be allowed to use pedestrian areas in Cheltenham town centre.
But Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Cycle Campaign chairman, John Mallows, said things had got out of perspective.
He said: "Very few serious pedestrian casualties arise from cycling. When they do, they are usually on the road and as a result, I suspect, of pedestrians stepping off the kerb without checking.
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"Without wanting to foster a cycling versus driving spat, pedestrians are at far greater risk on the pavements from cars."
Cheltenham borough and Gloucestershire county councils are considering allowing cyclists on the High Street and the Promenade – areas where cycling is banned.
Members of the Macular Disease Society gathered outside the Municipal Offices last week as part of a campaign against the changes.
But cyclists have argued that a change of rules would improve safety. Mr Mallows said he hoped council officers recognised the overall safety issue, taking into account the fact that cycling casualties would be avoided on the inner ring road, for example.
The county Highways department has said a trial of the new procedures, which could include new cycle lanes, would be held before the move went ahead. The authorities say police have reported difficulties in enforcing the ban.