I have written here before that drivers only see what they want to see. They look for gaps and consequently don’t see what is in them: you or me on our bikes.
Last night I witnessed that this myopic approach also extends to hearing (not listening). It seems that most of the local politicians that spoke did not listen to Cllr John Rogers motion on cycling in Worthing but instead only heard what they wanted to.
The subsequent debate and amendment had nothing to do with the motion. The motion basically asked that Worthing Council should promote cycling and to do so it would need to address the safety concerns that most riders have with regard to cycling on Worthing’s roads.
I sat through two tortuous hours of political dirge before Cllr John Rogers finally spoke. His motion is detailed below. The Council then debated the use of helmets and bells and speeding cyclist on the Promenade. I could not believe my ears. Hadn’t they even listened to the motion. Who were they buttering up to? If there was no fear of cycling in Worthing fast riders would not need the Promenade, nor would they need helmets.
Of course idiot cyclist that carve up pedestrians are a serious problem (as are drivers that do the same) but that was not what the motion was about. If we are not careful the whole issue could be lost it political double speak and the Town, as it always seems to, will carry on the same as ever.
Here is how it unfolded so you can contact any of these Councillors and your own just to make sure that they understood the motion.
Cllr Rogers read his motion.
Cllr Mrs Thorpe proposed an amendment saying that we need to consider pedestrians too, not from the point of car danger but from the danger of cyclists. She suggested that cyclists needed to wear helmets and to equip their bikes with bells.
Cllr Yallop talked about the safety of pedestrians with regard to speeding cyclists and thought that we could stencil on the Promenade places where speeding cyclists were seen. He mentioned educating cyclists.
Cllr Rice reminded the Council that cycle lanes were the responsibility of WSCC, he was happy to support the motion and suggested using section 106 money to action the proposals in the motion.
Cllr Roberts, agreed with Cllr Thorpe and even told us about his daughter’s role as cycle mentor to freshers in her London University.
Cllr High supported Cllr Thorpe’s amendment.
Cllr Oakley, a cyclist, said cyclists should use cycle lanes but that they were poor in Worthing and generally in the traffic flow. (The first comment actually related to the proposed motion).
Cllr Cloake supported the proposed motion but agreed with Cllr Thorpe’s amendment but suggested “encouraging” as a better term than educating cyclists.
Mayoress Fisher supported the amendment regarding the educating of cyclist when sharing the paths with pedestrians and suggested using S106 money to help publicise and promote cycling.
The motion was passed unanimously with the amendment
What concerns me is that a genuinely good motion to encourage cycling in the town and highlighting the need to make our roads safer has somehow got turned into an attack on cyclists. Surely the culprit is the driver and road planner who have made our roads so dangerous in the first place.
As a cyclist, and resident, I would like to apologise to the town and its councillors for riding my bike if it is going to cause you to be unable to do anything positive about road safety without having to criticise me first for simply being a rider. It is because you, as councillors feel and act so negatively, that we needed this motion to not only be passed but ACTIONED.
Here is Cllr Rogers motion.
Notice of Motion – Cycling in Worthing
” This Council recognises that cycling is now playing a greater role in Worthing residents’
lives and there has been a substantial increase in cycle movements over the last few
years as a result of people wishing to use more forms of sustainable transport and to
improve their health. Therefore, it wishes to actively encourage even more cycling by
residents and visitors.
The aim is to replace the hundreds of short local car journeys that could easily be cycled
instead, resulting in traffic, air pollution and pressure on parking.
It is recognised that many employees have stated that they would prefer to cycle to work
but do not feel safe to do so at the present time.
This Council agrees that in order to make responsible cycling safer and more pleasurable
the following actions would be helpful:
* cycle lanes to be marked out on all main routes into and out of the town
* an improvement on the network of cycle routes radiating out from the main town centre
* redesigns at problem junctions and roundabouts
* commuter routes to/from all the main line stations to the main work areas
* high volume secure cycle parking at stations and other main areas
* more work to be done with major employers and retailers to promote cycling
This Council therefore requests that West Sussex County Council, acting as the Highway
Authority, takes urgent steps to liaise with stakeholders such as the Worthing Cycle Forum
to discuss ways in which relevant section 106 monies currently held and allocated to cycle
schemes together with future allocated sums can be spent in the ways above in Worthing
in order to improve the cycling experience in the town in line with current Government
In addition, this Council will increase publicity of the cycle routes and facilities that already
exist in the town. ”
Proposed by Councillor John Rogers
Seconded by Councillor Mary Lermitte