THE new cycle path has already attracted a lot of attention, not all of it favourable.
Peter Norman commutes by bicycle every day between Bexhill and Hastings and says the new path is just like cycling along the beach. “Parts of the path are already covered in shingle making it impossible to cycle on,” he said.
“The Glyne Gap end is covered with a gravel type surface. The path is shared with walkers, dogs and children, if any of those were to walk out in front of a bicycle braking would be very difficult due to the loose surface.”
Peter said he had expected the new path to have a flatter surface like tarmac. “I was hoping for a viable alternative to the busy A259, but it would be quicker and safer to go along Bexhill Road. It’s a huge disappointment.”
Another path-user, Richard Christmas, 78, was knocked down and badly bruised by a speeding cyclist at the Glyne Gap end of the new path a few days before the official opening and says its a disaster waiting to happen.
Mr Christmas, and wife, Mavis, had walked through the tunnel which provides access to the beach and café. As they emerged onto the new pathway, Mr Christmas collided with a cyclist travelling downhill from Hastings towards Bexhill.
Mr Christmas said: “The chap was going like a bat out of hell and tried to steer between my wife and I, but he ran straight into me and knocked me for six.
“The back wheel of the bicycle connected with my hamstring and I was left badly bruised.
“At first the cyclist started shouting at me for getting in the way. But another cyclist stuck up for me and someone else said they had been passed on the path by this chap going at speed, and he eventually apologised.
“Fortunately I’m fairly fit and I was lucky that my head didn’t hit the ground. But if that had been a child running out of the tunnel to get to the beach, who knows what might have happened?
“I cycle on the path myself and there is no way people should be going at that sort of speed. But that point near Galley Hill is especially dangerous and I feel it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
“There ought to be a zig-zag section introduced to make it apparent and to force riders to slow down.
“At the moment there aren’t even any warning signs there to alert people that there’s a blind exit from the bunny tunnel under the railway.”
Gordon Russell, chairman of Hastings Urban Bikes (HUB) said:
“We do promote responbile cycling, although you cannot legislate for everyone.
“I am aware of comments from HUB members that the surface isn’t flat and there are puddles.
“But overall, we are absolutely delighted with the uptake and usage. It is fantastic that people can go the entire way from the Jerwood Gallery on the Stade to the De La Warr Pavilion completely off-road.”