Your views wanted on county council proposal for Birchington to Margate cycle route

The cycle route proposal

A new cycle route between Birchington and Margate – following the Canterbury Road – is being planned by Kent County Council.

The project is part of the Active Travel scheme being funded by central government.

Kent County Council has been granted £6.1million for five proposed schemes, including the Birchington to Margate Sands cycle route.

The schemes aim to encourage active travel, which means walking or cycling for transport as well as for leisure.

KCC says the schemes will support local high streets and businesses by increasing footfall and making efficient use of  road space;  help address public health crises by enabling residents to get active and stay healthy; encourage cycle and pedestrian friendly streets; provide a variety of safe and efficient means of transport and improve air quality.

For the Thanet scheme KCC wants to introduce the cycle route, install road safety measures, signs and cycle parking, possibly redesign some junctions and crossings and reduce the amount of through traffic and road danger in neighbourhood areas.

Improvements throughout the area such as seating, tree planting and landscaping are also suggested.

The scheme is now out for public consultation to gather views and also suggestions on the exact route.

The  idea is for a east-west cycle route linking Birchington to Margate and north-south cycle route improvements to connect to coastal roads.

Consultation documents from KCC say: “We want to understand and incorporate the views of local residents, stakeholders and the travelling public in our proposals. Feedback will be vital in helping us shape how the schemes are progressed.”

The consultation closes at 23:59pm on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

Following the end of the consultation, a report will be compiled summarising the analysis of the feedback which will help shape the development of the scheme.

In Summer 2021, KCC will carry out a second consultation to present designs, with more detail of the schemes, and ask for more feedback to ensure that they best suit the needs of local communities.

Previous active travel schemes in Thanet included the Westgate one-way system and Broadstairs bus lane, both of which were scrapped after resident complaints. Neither of those schemes had been consulted on in advance.

The 5 proposed schemes

Canterbury: Littlebourne Road to the City Centre

Folkestone: Central Railway Station to Cheriton

Thanet: Birchington to Margate Sands

Folkestone: Hythe to Dymchurch

Gravesham: Gravesend to Northfleet

Find the consultation page here


  1. Twice this year I have been hit by cyclists in minnis bay promenade where the walkway is shared with bikes by cyclist who were going at excessive speeds. Agree with scheme but not where the route combines with pedestrians as for every careful cyclist there are numerous who are not. I cycle myself but stick to sea roads due to elderly who are slow to react and some deaf who don’t here me coming. Birchington to westbrook is full of elderly people a nightmare to cycle. Another ill thought out scheme that will cause fights as in the lake district. Walkways for pedestrians and cycle paths on roads for cyclist as the two don’t mix.

    • I agree with Den’s phrase-cyclists and pedestrians don’t mix. In Ramsgate, it would be an improvement if the shared use path along the clifftop were to be de-segregated. Cyclists often don’t ring their bell when approaching pedestrians from behind.One part of the path should be for pedestrians (preferably the part near the railings), the other for cyclists. Also, dogs should be kept on a short lead along this path.

      • Like most of the others who have commented on here, I agree that cyclists and pedestrians don’t mix.
        I am a cyclist and I get frustrated by the lack of respect that some cyclists show for the people they are sharing the path with. Cyclists need to know that if they are on a shared path they must be prepared at times to go at walking pace and only pass pedestrians slowly and carefully. I believe it is still compulsory for all cycles to have an “audible warning device. Unfortunately how and when it is used is often questionable. I have seen cyclists ride up close behind pedestrians before using their bell causing the pedestrians to jump out of their skins. It also doesn’t hurt to thank the people who have the courtesy to move out of their way.

    • I have used Westgate Bay promenade quite regularly this past couple of years. Bicycles routinely ignore the “please dismount” areas, in fact I would say nearly always, and cycle speeds are often way in excess of 5 mph. Cyclists as a genre do not seem to know what shared rules are all about. I despair for us pedestrians that enjoy a gentle wander along the prom , gone is the carefree experience once enjoyed by us ‘strollers’. I daren’t even mention electric scooters that easily do in excess of 20 mph, are silent, and generally ridden by the young with no conception of taking things slowly.

    • It’s so sad to hear that you have had to suffer the affect of being physically hit by a cyclis, it’s really is not on. I my self used the promenade from Ramsgate to birchinton to Herne bay and beyond. It’s unfortunate that some use it as a race course when really it should be used by all as a place of leisure and relaxation. Pls don’t blanket ban every public space x

  2. Any improvement in the cycle network is great. We need to reduce road accidents and deaths. Encouraging cycling will improve health and reduce carbon emissions. With a safer network it might also encourage more kids to cycle to school reducing traffic in that area.

  3. I agree with Den better definition of bikes and pedestrians.A proper white line to denote both and better signs with sprayed symbols on the pavement

  4. The law states that cyclists shouldn’t exceed 5 mph on shared spaces with pedestrians, but unfortunately many ignore or are unaware of this (not me – I generally cycle quite fast, so mainly stick to roads!).

    • I’m completely unaware of this law. There are absolutely no signs on shared use routes to say this!
      Please will you point to the legislation?
      I agree with others: shared use doesn’t work. Mark up the promenade etc with segregated cycle and pedestrian areas.
      And keep dogs on leads!

      • I agree with the comment regarding dogs. When I had my dog I would definitely not let her off the lead where there are cyclists. However. Painting lines on the path to segregate cyclists and pedestrians doesn’t work (check out Brighton). The cyclists and pedestrians become territorial and the cyclists think they have a free rein to go as fast as they like and heaven forbid if a pedestrian should accidentally stray onto THEIR path.

  5. Separating pedestrians and cyclists is the best plan. Shared cycle paths just cause problems and mean the bikes have to travel at 5mph so they can avoid the walkers negating the point of cycling in the first place. Pedestrians have all the pavements in the country to walk on. Boris promoted cycling to get fit but travelling at 5mph won’t do that at all. We need separate cycle lanes if they are to work. Not “shared” cycle lanes which really mean “owned by the slowest walker” We need to go pretty fast to elevate the heart rate so that fitness gains are possible, this is just not possible on shared paths with walkers and their dogs on massive leads which stretch across 10 meters. They won’t listen as it costs money but I thought I would mention it anyway.

    • Shared paths are a good thing if they are used properly. I love to cycle between Margate and Herne Bay in the summer mostly on shared paths. Often parts of the route are very busy, especially the bit along Margate sea front and I often get off and walk there but I realise unlike some that I have no more right to be on that path than the pedestrians. In fact, I feel that they have more right to use the path than me as I have the option of using the road.
      I hate to see cyclists (and electric scooterists) weaving their way through the pedestrians at speed particularly when the pedestrians are elderly or young children. The rules for using shared paths need to be displayed and there ought to be penalties for breaking them.

  6. How will it support the high streets? Ever tried carrying your shopping on a bike? I did it at the start of lockdown and it is no fun. Now shopping online as it is winter. I also had to be very quick because I was worried the bike would get stolen. Just another waste of money. These schemes have been a disaster in London.

    • I cycle everywhere to go shopping. Simply have a couple of panniers on the back of the bike. And I lock my bike up when shopping so it doesn’t get stolen. Cobags of Copenhagen have excellent bike pannier shopping bags if you’re interested.

  7. You can also add your own requests including areas you think 20 miles limits would be an asset especially lf it is close to your home.

    • Part of the route goes into Epple bay Avenue which has an electric gate across it as it is a Private Road, then through a 4ft wide dirt track walkway flanked by walls either side on private homes into Spencer Road I know as I cycle it walk it regularly it is not suitable for a national cycle path you can check it on Google earth only Road is Cross Road that is suitable.

      • Yes, they need to remove that! Actually, surprised it’s still there as it also blocks wheelchair users, prams, etc.

  8. This is a good start. We need to see improved cycling and pedestrian routes across the District. Certainly also agree we need to see a 20mph speed limit in all residential areas…..

  9. I hope that everyone who’s commented here, especially with regards to the shared use path, makes their comments known to KCC.

  10. Unless the law is changed to make them compulsory you will still get a significant number risking life and limb on the main road.

  11. As we have 20mph on Margate seafront leading to the town centre and along marine drive past the turner many of the ignorant drive fast anyway even in areas where where there is times not to go their we have cameras everywhere shurely somebody must be looking and pass on to police the unfortunate think is we do not have any local traffic police all based at cold harbour.We need them in Thanet.

  12. Considering there already is a cycle route (ok not perfect but better than in many places) from Birchington to Margate along the seafront, wouldn’t it make more sense to spend this money sorting out places where there is currently NO cycle route or suitable, safe road to use. Lord of the Manor roundabouts act as a massive block on cycle routes for example. We have a route from Sandwich into Ramsgate. We have one along the dual carriageway next to Manston Airport. We have several around Westwood Cross. But none of them link into each other.
    We also have a (rubbish-strewn) cycle path from the St Nicholas Roundabout on the Thanet Way heading into Birchington that randomly stops before it gets to Birchington leaving you having to cycle along the busy main road.
    Lots of little adjustments and additions such as these, in addition to actually maintaining the cycle paths we have, would cost much less and have a much bigger overall benefit.

    • When this money was first announced, I emailed the head chappie for roads and asked how he would decide on which schemes to promote. I pointed out that it would be easy to spend lots of money to little good effect. I mentioned the “Cycle Facility of the Month web site.
      He did reply and told me that a variety of stakeholders would be consulted.
      I asked him specifically which cycling organisations would be involved, but I didn’t get a reply.
      Have a look at this web site. It might almost have been used by KCC as a design manual.

  13. Will cyclists be insured at any time in the near future because cyclists and pedestrians don’t mix and although many cycle respecting others many don’t and cycle 3 abreast and at excessive speeds disregarding the rules of the road .

    • And which rules of the road describe speeds at which cyclists can travel? I cycle frequently, and have never (other than on organised cycling events) seen cycles 3 abreast.

  14. What cycle paths there are already never get cleaned so endless punctures from glass, etc makes cycling a dangerous and expensive past time in Thanet. Almost everytime our lad takes his bike out he comes back with at least one tyre flat.

    Please, everyone take part in the consultation and make your thoughts known.

  15. The worst area for cycles is along the pathway at Margate seafront in the summer, try and enjoy a sunny day stroll is impossible, bikes come from every direction the full width of the path and no cyclist has or uses a bell, they cycle past so close it is so dangerous for children and older folk. That area definitely needs to be thought about.

    • Plenty of cyclists have bells, and use them. When I use my bell (for example on Margate seafront) people stop, turn round, and glare at me. They might, or might not, grudgingly move aside a little.
      The biggest menace on shared use paths are out of control dogs, especially those on long leads.
      Shared use paths, particularly busy ones, don’t work. If the path is wide enough, there should be lines painted indicating the walking part and the cycling part.
      The whole length of Hastings prom is marked out like that.
      Do click on the link and fill in the “consultation”. You don’t need to supply any personal details.

  16. Excellent idea. The dual carriageway is lethal for any cyclist.Realy !. Cycling restricted on the promenade. A cycle only straight through road, is safest, and a workable answer. There are many many cyclists now in this area. With Margate as a place to aim for,(coffee shops, cafes, etc Smiths, Boots, Turner centre ) the town would benefit . Hope for us cyclists 🙂

  17. When is this stupidity going to stop. You already have a cycle route along the side of the sea why have another route that is not needed. I am all for fit and healthy ways of transport with a good view but don’t disrupt the highways. (I see the ones in London have been a costly disaster as was altering the highway layout in WestGate)

    • The cycle superhighways in London, once they listened to cyclists’ views, have been brilliant. And not half as costly as dual carriageway underpasses and fly- overs.

  18. Cycle AND pedestrians need better access between the villages. For example, I live in Westgate, but to walk or cycle just a couple of miles away to Acol is very dangerous indeed.

  19. This is a good start. What I would love to see would be a designated cycle path going from Thanet to Canterbury. I have made that journey along the A28 a few times and it can be really scary. You have to put your life in the hands of the motorists some of which like you to know that they don’t appreciate you being on their road.

  20. Looks pretty good to me, particularly for kids coming from Margate to the schools at Westgate. Currently it’s a hellscape of psycho motorists and it’s only a matter of time before someone’s kid is mangled. However, THC’s total incapacity to maintain anything will mean that, after one winter, the route will be potholed and coverd in dogshit, impassable by only the most intrepid MAMIL.

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