Town pedestrian areas no-go for cyclists

Cyclists are being warned that riding bikes is still forbidden in Hastings town centre.

A trial allowing bicycles in the pedestrianised area of the town had been discussed by Hastings council, but moves to bring it in have been shelved until next year.

Before the trial can go ahead, the council must get permission from the Department of Transport for new road signs.

Despite this traders and shoppers have become increasingly frustrated by cyclists hurtling through the town with no regard for pedestrians.

Town Centre Manager Rob Woods said that the police were responsible for enforcing the no-bicycle rule, but were busy dealing with other matters.

He said: "We've got no regularity powers to do anything about it.

"I think generally most traders would welcome, with persuasion, sensible cycling. But the young kids don't really think like that. In theory they shouldn't be cycling at all."

Hastings Seniors Forum has been campaigning to stop cycling in the town.

Olive Birchmore, chairman of the forum's crime and safety group said: "It's really frightening at times. There has been an increase in cyclists and they are getting faster too.

"I've spoken to police several times and I said they are not allowed to do that, and the police have said yes they can.

"People have got guide dogs, or children. It's a pedestrian area. It should be for pedestrians."

A council spokesman said: "Cycling is not currently permitted through the pedestrian part of the town centre.

"This is covered by a traffic order preventing all vehicles, except for access, during specific times as it is still part of the highway. A bicycle is classed as a vehicle, the trial would restrict just motor-vehicles.

"It is up to the police to enforce this if they saw a cyclist was causing a nuisance or a hazard."

Insp Gary Keating, Hastings Police, said: "It is something we are working with the council on, and there are enforcement capabilities the council have.

"Neighbourhood special officer for the town centre, PC Mike Pilbeam, is dealing with this issue and it has been included in his ward action plan."