‘NO CYCLING’ signs put up on Littlehampton’s attractive new riverside promenade are ‘unlawful’, according to a nearby bike shop owner.
Paul Power, of The Dutch Bike Company, in Pier Road, claims the temporary signs have no legal standing and go against the council’s seafront strategy, which includes promoting safe cycling.
The current signs are a temporary measure and the content of the permanent signage is under review.Philippa Dart, director of environmental services for Arun
Mr Power said he was ‘appalled’ that the town’s new £22.5m flood defence scheme, completed earlier this year, with more than £2m of ‘public realm’ enhancements to the Pier Road/Arun Parade waterfront, had included no provision for safe cycling and had actually made matters worse at the junction of the roads with South Terrace, which was now significantly narrower, increasing the hazards for cyclists.
A cycling ban on Littlehampton’s seafront promenade, continuing towards Rustington, was lifted a few years ago, but now riders face having to dismount when they reach the new walkway and go down to road level.
Mr Power told the Gazette: “I don’t believe the signs are lawful. Nor would riding on the walkway be a criminal offence subject to police fixed penalty notices, as the walkway runs alongside a river on one side with a pavement below it. For a criminal offence to be created for cycling on a pavement, the pavement must run directly alongside a road. This is made clear in the 1846 Highways Act, which I have previously studied in some detail.”
Philippa Dart, director of environmental services for Arun, said: “As an authority we are keen to promote cycling as widely as possible where it is safe for all users. The East Bank promenade is a pedestrian-focussed scheme due to the large number of visitors it attracts.
“West Sussex County Council identified that the cycle route would be best directed along Arun Parade, due to the height of the waterfront railings and width of the walkway. Particular areas of concern were the ‘pinch points’ around the Fish Kiosk and at the northern access ramp in Pier Road, where there were fears collisions between cyclists and pedestrians could occur.
“The current signs are a temporary measure and the content of the permanent signage is under review.”
The Gazette asked Arun, twice, for its opinion on the legality of the signs, which law or byelaw would be enforced and whether there would be any consultation on the ban, but these points were not answered.