Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pedestrian Heart on a Bike

I'm not sure if the practice reduces the Echo's carbon footprint, but they certainly recycled an old story about Pedestrian Heart on the front page of the Advertiser tonight.

It was a rehash of the old cyclists vs. disabled people potboiler, hung on the peg that cycling is going to be allowed in the Pedestrian Heart zone after a six-month trial once the work is complete. This is very old news, and it's a shame the Echo used it as an opportunity to run a "row" story involving the town's growing number of cyclists.

In fact, the issue which was the spark for this was more interesting, but perhaps a bit technical for an Advertiser splash - some of the signing has been confusing for cyclists in the PH zone, and it is taking a little time for the new Orders to be processed. You can read Mike McTimoney's accounts here and here on the Bike Darlington website, which helpfully includes clarification from Town Hall officers.

I am confident that it is and will continue to be safe for cyclists and pedestrians to share the Pedestrian Heart area. This works well in several towns and cities around the country. The clinching argument for me was simply to look at the accident clusters around the ring road, particularly near or on the roundabouts, which involved cyclists. If Darlington is serious about improving road safety and promoting cycling, allowing bikes to share the PH area makes sense, providing that cyclist ride responsibly. Many months after the shared use scheme began, no accidents have been reported to me.

3 comments:

miketually said...

I was also a little confused by the tone of the article and I was in it. The campaign was approached by the Echo as a result of the posts on our blog, where it's pretty clear the problem is confusion over signing (the 'No Cycling' signs are still up in Northgate, by the way...) during the works, and when the shared use scheme begins.

There's obviously still some confusion over when the scheme begins; was it "many months" ago, or is it when the work is completed?

Anonymous said...

What is your policy, Nick, on skateboarders using the PH? I saw several young people roaring over the tiles on Saturday morning and heard many people complain.
Are skate boarders on a 6 month trial also?

Anonymous said...

I teach cycling safety to school children, and think to cycle on a pedestrian area is as stupid as cycling on a footpath.

I teach the children that cycling on a footpath is wrong, often in direct conflict to the safety advice from parents. I pushed prams for six years, and walk a dog on a lead, and cyclists on the footpath continue to be the bane of my life.

Pedestrian areas are for people, wheelchairs, blind people with white sticks, dogs on leads, pushchairs and parents with children. Not skateboarders or cyclists.

It's a mad idea.