Speeding concerns raised over ‘motorway’ style cycle lane on West Cliff promenade

The new 'lanes' on the West Cliff

A £27,000 project has seen the installation of cycle lanes and signs along 19 miles of Thanet coastline.

The lanes run along ‘shared space’ on Ramsgate’s West Cliff.

Thanet council says the aim is to ‘promote respect between pedestrians and cyclists’ but some residents fear the ‘motorway’ appearance of the space will lead to complaints of people ’straying’ into the wrong lane or cyclists using the space to speed up.

Ramsgate resident Ian Shacklock said: “The promenade was a fantastic shared space. It was wide enough to accommodate everyone without unintended conflict.

“It has now been divided into three much narrower strips and is no longer a place where either cyclists or walkers can relax.

“As a cyclist I now feel more vulnerable on this path than if I were on the busy roads. And thanks to the crazy signage and “motorway feel” I fear that other cyclists will feel obliged to go a lot faster. Everybody loses.

“I think we will need to monitor the behaviour of cyclists over the summer. If they can all coexist in harmony with pedestrians and not complain when anyone strays into their private territory, then maybe there won’t be a problem after all.

“But even if only one percent of cyclists use the lanes as an excuse to go faster, without consideration for other people’s needs, then the promenade will lose most of its value as a destination for holiday and rest.”

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “A project led by Thanet District Council with match-funding by Kent County Council has seen 19 miles of our coastline benefit from new cycling safety signage, to promote respect between cyclists and pedestrians.

“The work, which was led by the council’s Technical Services team, began with an extensive review and assessment of the cycling routes along the Thanet coast.

“The £27,000 project has seen installation of new signage which specifically highlights the shared space policy of our coastal routes and areas where cyclists should slow down or dismount. Existing signage on the coastline that has weathered due to exposure to the elements has also been replaced.”

Photo TDC

Walking and cycling charity Sustrans say shared pedestrian and cycle routes “provide safe spaces for us all to travel, relax, unwind and play.”

The charity adds: “All users of shared-use paths have responsibilities for the safety of others they are sharing space with.

“People riding bikes tend to be the fastest movers on these paths.  If you’re cycling, we recommend that you consider your speed so you don’t accidentally startle other people. Particularly those who are frail or who have reduced sight, hearing or mobility.

Sustrans  tips for sharing the space

Use the path in a way that is considerate to the comfort and safety of others.

If there is a dividing line segregating cyclists from pedestrians, keep to the appropriate side; this is normally indicated on blue and white road signs and by logos on the road surface.

When it’s dark, or in dull conditions, make sure you are visible to others, use lights at night.

Be particularly careful at junctions, bends, entrances onto the path, or any other ‘blind spots’ where people could appear in front of you without warning.

When riding a bike, travel at a speed appropriate to the conditions and ensure you can stop in time.

Be courteous and patient with other path users who are moving more slowly than you and slow down as needed when space is limited or if you cannot see clearly ahead.

Please be aware, especially of more vulnerable users such as older people, people with small children, people in wheelchairs, or the hearing or visually impaired.

Give way to slower users and wheelchair users and take care around horse riders leaving them plenty of room.

When riding a bike, ring a bell well in advance if approaching people from behind.

Keep your dog on a short lead when walking on a path shared with people who cycle.

44 Comments

  1. How many cyclists even have bells nowadays – the number of times I’ve nearly been wiped out when on the “shared space”

    • Can we please have segregated cycle lanes on the Eastcliff promenade too? What with some thoughtless cyclists, and dogs on a long lead or no lead at all, there is a good deal of risk for pedestrians here at the moment.

  2. Let’s hope the pedestrians don’t wander into the cycle lanes like they do elsewhere – and then get annoyed when you ring a bell to warn of your approach! Thepath there is wide enough for everyone anyway so I do question the need for painting lines all over the place.

  3. It looks like a landing strip for light aircraft but our mothballed airport is coming back.

    Tdc, hey more woes

    Blimey,its been a shared space for so many years and it seems to have worked ok.

    Why make changes ? why pay out our money ?

    Hopefully tdc are using government covid handouts to benefit all their ct payers!

    The new white cycle lines are so hideous, its so wrong and why was the tarmac surface not repaired its already damaged with gouges where weeds grow quiet happy.

    Who wants to cycle on damaged surfaces ?

    Seen it all before !

  4. I’ve watched with dismay as National Cycle Route 15 has been peppered with this “tick box” signage. So much of it is unnecessary and clearly not done by anyone who either is a cyclist or knows much. Many of the signs are right next to obstructions they warn about, and most are less visible than the obstruction! The thinking is clearly “we’re sorry you hit that obstruction due to your inability to look out for what is in front of you, but you can’t sue us because we put a sign there”! Some of the old signage that does need renewal was useful, but has been ignored by the new and mostly useless signage. What a waste of £27,000. Was this purely TDC’s influence, or are the other national cycle routes getting the same misguided treatment?

  5. I think it’s a great idea. Too many dog walkers have absolutely no control over their dogs along that strip of shared walkway and others who have actually got them on their leads seem to view it as a personal challenge to extend the retractable lead across the entire width of the path, causing problems for cyclists and runners.

    Don’t often say this but well done TDC.

  6. As cyclists now have a dedicated cycle lane, why is there not a dedicated pedestrian walkway instead of a ‘shared space’ ? Still nice to waste taxpayers money!

    • I agree. If there’s a dedicated cycle lane, the remaining bit should be dedicated to pedestrians.
      In general, I think it’s a good idea. Far too often when I’ve cycled along there, I’ve had to screech to a halt to avoid running down someone’s dog. Not because I was going too fast (I’ve always stopped in time) but because someone’s chucked a ball for their dog straight in front of me etc.

    • There is not such thing as a dedicated cycleway, where pedestrians are not legally allowed to walk. Typically where there are lanes like this the rest of the path is pedestrian only, which means that cyclists are not allowed cycle around pedestrians, dogs, or vehicles which obstruct the cycle lane.

  7. Demarcating areas in this way is so divisive. It has always been obvious to all of us that it is a shared space, just as the whole planet is! If some abused that, doing this will not stop it. There seems such a preoccupation now with dividing us into “them” and “us”. These are restrictions that we must push-back against, else they will only get worse.

  8. Will more likely cause more accidents in this country. Cyclists will cycle along as if nobody will wander into the lane, which is why they will scream like banshees when somebody does.

    Locals will get used to it and will watch out, visitors wont be. In Amsterdam they love their bells, and they work. Cant imagine the lycra brigade ringing a bell, they wont look like pros if they do that.

  9. I was nearly run down by two bikes coming towards me on the pavement at the Lido in Margate. I couldn’t step to the side because bikes were coming around me there too. I was surrounded! The bike in front said she hadn’t seen me and when I complained and said I had no where to go, her partner behind her, with a baby on board, began swearing at me and told me that this was a cycle path and I should f*** off to the pavement on the other side of the road. It’s made walking very stressful and is an accident waiting to happen.

  10. Just used it

    Only a few problems, dog walkers walking in it and not moving.

    Dogs on long leads wondering into the lanes

    And dodging the dog shit

    Apart from there great

  11. More wasted tax payer money spent on destroying the view with unnecessary signs and lines.
    Pedestrians, dog walkers and cyclists have shared these paths for decades with few problems. Let’s just let people use their common sense instead of trying to control every aspect of their lives.

    • Your comoments show how little you understand the problem.
      Unless pedestrians have eyes in the backs of their heads (or wing mirrors) they won’t know about cyclists coming up behind them. That means that cyclists have to give some audible warning. At which point a pedestrian (usually) stops in their tracks, turns slowly round, gazes in astonishment as though they’ve never seen a bike before, then grudgingly shuffle a few centimetres to the side. If they’ve got a dog on a long lead, the situation is compounded: the walker moves one way, and the dog the other.
      With this new system, pedestrians can reasonably expect not to have bikes coming up behind them, and cyclists can be pretty sure there won’tbe day dreaming pedestrians in front of them.
      What’s not to like about such a safety conscious scheme?

      • > Unless pedestrians have eyes in the backs of their heads (or wing mirrors) they won’t know about cyclists coming up behind them.

        They don’t need eyes in the backs of their heads, they need to use their necks to turn their heads to look behind them, before changing direction. Unfortunately this does require a brain inside their head.

        > That means that cyclists have to give some audible warning. At which point a pedestrian (usually) stops in their tracks, turns slowly round, gazes in astonishment as though they’ve never seen a bike before, then grudgingly shuffle a few centimetres to the side.

        Typically, most people will move to before (or rather without) looking.

        > If they’ve got a dog on a long lead, the situation is compounded: the walker moves one way, and the dog the other.

        Yep, and if it is a group of 3 or more, part of the group will move to one side, and the rest the other side, but there will always at least one, who decides to join the other part of the group, at the most opportune time to cause a collision.

        The rules for cycling on a shared path are:
        1. Remember you will probably come off worst in any collision.
        2. Keep as much distance from pedestrians as is possible.
        3. If in doubt, slow down – to a stop if necessary. Follow at walking pace if necessary.
        4. Use you bell sparingly – it will cause unpredictable behaviour (unaware pedestrians are much less of a hazard).
        5. Always give way to on coming cyclists who the pedestrians can see (or at least are facing).
        6. Don’t give way to cyclists who pedestrians cannot see – they will think you are giving way to them and they will return the favour by moving out of your way, without looking, into the path of the cyclist who is approaching from behind.
        7. Take extreme care when passing between a group.
        8. Take extreme care when following a cyclist when pedestrians have allowed past – they will block the path again without looking for more cyclists.
        9. Take extreme care when passing between a dog and its owner – always assume there is an extendable line that you haven’t seen yet (you’ll often be correct).

    • I don’t see how some markings on a ground-level flat surface can possibly “destroy the view”, unless one just walks along staring downwards.

  12. There are now more cyclists than there used to be and far more dogs. Long leads have been invented. And many dogs are badly trained, with owners who assume that everyone else is keen on dogs.

  13. This idea is not new.
    We have our very own ancient example up the Paragon, and there is a segregated lane from Deal all the way beyond Walmer.
    I haven’t read of any problems associated with these schemes.
    It seems to me that entitled dog walkers are faux outraged because they’re a tiny bit less entitled than they were.

    • Yes why on earth can’t they continue to let their dogs run all over the hugely wide path getting in everyone’s way any more ? This is pretty much the only sensible thing TDC have done for years.

  14. I think this is rediculous. No money for the essentials like bins, toilets and working lifts but money gets spent on fixing something that isn’t broke. And it not only looks an eyesore but I’ll wager there will now be more anger and possibly accidents as a result. Why on earth do the public only see these things after they have been imposed on us? I think it should be taken back off.

  15. I can’t see why so many people moaning about this, it’s simple, pedestrians look where you are going and dog walkers keep an eye on your dog. I’ve been a keen cyclist for a long time and it’s people walking about that have caused my couple of accidents. People look where you are going or go where you are looking.

    • Audrey. Moaning? My point is simple. I have no problem with a dedicated cycleway. What I have issue with is the pedestrian area outside the cycleway is dedicated as a ‘ shared space space’ for both pedestrians and cyclists. Why??

      • Agree – and when the paint wears out on the cycle path will there be money to repaint it? I think we all know the answer!!

        • Blue Fox. Spot on! I have been trying through Councillors to get some double yellow lines repainted that have faded away! KCC and TDC have both said not my responsibility. In other words not my job guv!

  16. I have both walked and cycled along there hundreds of times, without incident, doing both with care and attention. Those lanes instead invite us cyclists to think we’re entitled to ride as fast as we’re able to and that it will not be our fault if we hit anyone. Appalling judgement by those who should never have been allowed to do this.

  17. “A project led by Thanet District Council…” Do they not have more pressing things to concern themselves over and more usefully spend money on?

  18. Its got to the point where Thanet council has become a graffiti artist, I’m a cyclist and a pedestrian its just a case of people having a bit of respect for each other all this sign writing everywhere is a waste of money and an eyesore and I doubt it will be maintained either so in the future there will be lots of nasty half worn out unsightly road markings, spend the money on things that do need painting like the Viking bay toilet block for example!

    • That’s your opinion Marva and we all know about your dislike of dogs, dogs over people always for me they are more trusting, don’t stab you in the back or try to cut people out of society and many path users have no respect for other path users and not all dog owners behave in the way you indicate so show some respect for those who do keep their dogs under control and do not assume every one is the same you use the word respect Marva try it sometime even if it sticks in your throat.

    • Don’t like people eh? Miss Ann Throp so why ban dogs if anything should be banned it is miserable people who have nothing better to do than moan about every single thing in their miserable little lives.

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