FOOTWAYS: Cyclists need to be more aware

Various articles and letters in the News Guardian have had a political edge and many people will have reached for writing instruments, mine being a fountain pen, to contribute something.

You might think there are elections not far off, but I wish to offer a lesser political contribution on the issues raised by Dr Bill Hutton (News Guardian, February 11), though still political to some of us.

I have had very similar encounters with cyclists to Dr Hutton on what are obvious footpaths, or at least pavements allowing some controlled cycling.

As an elderly pedestrian on two walking sticks, I have made representations to the council, police and schools, at meetings or by letter, concerning inconsiderate cycling on footpaths.

Dr Hutton should be supported in this matter. His encounters on a so-called ‘walkway’ at Northumberland’s coast is part of pedestrian experiences of the coastal ‘promenades’ (another word for footpaths,) jointly made available to walkers and cyclists.

Unfortunately, this privilege is regarded as giving cyclists the right to do what they like on designated coastal footways and on ordinary pavements away from the seaside and riverside.

North Tyneside has these from Royal Quays through to the Smiths Dock site, along the Fish Quay area to Tynemouth, Cullercoats, Whitely Bay, and northwards into Northumberland.

There is some signage and painted markings here and there, but, for example, in Cullercoats there are lengths of quite narrow promenades with changes of level in them.

The small white and blue circular sings instructing cyclists to give way to pedestrians – able, disabled, very old or very young – as well as anyone else, get ignored, even where there are heavy roadworks.

The cycle club groups should have a general awareness of pedestrians.

I am able to offer some support of Sustrans as it has appeared at meetings I have attended.

The councils are believed to be actively studying the cycleway, but it is for cyclists to be more aware, surely.

AM Johnson

Cullercoats