Ban on cycling on promenade could be lifted

Cycling may be permitted on Felixstowe prom after being banned for 32 years.

Cycling may be permitted on Felixstowe prom after being banned for 32 years. - Credit: Archant

Cycling on Felixstowe promenade looks set to be made legal – after more than 30 years of controversy.

A bye-law dating back to 1983 made it an offence to ride along the two-mile long walkway, though the rule has long been ignored by cyclists – even more so in recent years with the drive to encourage people to take up exercise.

Councillors, fed up with answering questions about the issue, say there are not enough signs in place to make the ban enforceable and with limited resources today, neither the police or Suffolk Coastal council is ever likely to prosecute.

Meanwhile, dozens of coastal resorts have already scrapped their bye-laws, deciding they are outdated and promenades are acceptable places to cycle.

Mayor of Felixstowe, Doreen Savage said: “All of us, as councillors, over the years have had to explain to members of the public why people cycle on the prom and don’t get stopped. It seems futile in this day and age that there is a byelaw restricting cycling on the prom when it is never likely to be enforced.

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“We are trying to encourage people to cycle and enjoy exercise and everything we have got in Felixstowe and it seems to me that cycling with care on the prom in a good idea.”

Mobility scooters, and children on bikes and scooters were already using the prom.

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Deputy mayor Jan Garfield told the town council finance and general purposes committee: “I think it would be pointless trying to enforce this bye-law. We have no means to enforce it. Why should cyclists be penalised? I think those riding the prom in Felixstowe are very careful and grown-up about it.”

Councillors felt cyclists rode at a sensible speeds and riders were not likely to use the prom when it was crowded as there would be little point.

Councillor Steve Gallant said the best option would be to have a year’s trial with cycling permitted and to revoke the bye-law to avoid the ongoing questions and confusion.

He said: “It is not enforceable, the signs are not in place and there is no-one to enforce it, but if we leave it as it is there is no definitive answer. I would be in favour of taking down the signs and removing the bye-law.”

The committee agreed to recommend to full council that the bye-law be revoked.

It is the first stage in the process, which would go to Suffolk Coastal for consultation and a final decision next year.

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