Sunday 15 February 2009

Portsmouth: the seafront

There's a presentation up on Portsmouth's Web site, talking about their cycling town plans, in which they wonder why the money spent on adding a no cycling sign to every lamp post hasn't reduced the amount of sea front cycling.

There are so many signs, it could almost become the logo of the cycling town.

Yet, as Galileo is claimed to have said: E pur si muove! -and yet it moves, or in this case, and yet they move, they being the cyclists on the seafront path.

Why do these pavement-criminals cycle down the wide seafront enjoying a pleasant conversation, when there is a perfectly safe road alongside?

Maybe they don't percieve the road as safe? All along the seafront lies vast swathes of echelon parking, drive in-reverse out parking, here with a car showing exactly the problems it raises. This minivan managed to scrape its front bumper driving in, yet still poked further out the back than the other vehicles, and when it moved, even approaching car traffic had to hit the brakes.

Given a choice between a road with cars reversing into you without looking, and a wide, safe seafront, the only people who are going to choose the road are the fit ones who can go up to 20-25 mph and don't want to waste time swerving around dogs being walked.

The surprising thing for Pompey then, is not why the presence of some anti-bike signs and intermittend persecution of teenagers haven't stopped the majority of the seafront cyclists to stop cycling down the path, but
  1. why some people don't cycle along the path, but choose the road instead.
  2. why the cycling team were surprised that the signs had no effect whatsoever.


Anonymous said...

Further question: Why did they put the signs up in the first place?

WestfieldWanderer said...

...because this is Bike-Phobic Britain.

SteveL said...

That is a good question, and something that needs to be looked at in more detail. A key point is that people who drive to seafront and then get out and walk don't like bicycles going past them as it threatens them

Anonymous said...


In north Wales, the route from bangor to Prestatyn passes through Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, where it follows a designated lane on the pedestrian seafront.

In Aberdeen, there are about 2 No Bike signs along the entire 2 miles of prom walkway; probably the council want to placate those who would complain, but at the same time turn a blind eye.

SteveL said...

I'd heard there were big problems in LLandudno or Rhyl with the Sustrans route there; a big anti-bike on seafront campaign. These are the same people fighting the out-to-sea windmills, so I think they want to preserve a victorian seaside resort, with its victorian features like car parking and 50" plasma displays in every house.