06:00 Thursday 30 January 2014

Contentious bike ban in Ely Riverside is lifted

Written byJORDAN DAY

The signs in Ely's Riverside have now been removed. The signs in Ely's Riverside have now been removed.

A ban on cyclists travelling through one of Ely’s most scenic areas has now been officially lifted.

Just weeks after East Cambridgeshire District Council announced it wanted to allow cyclists to use the city’s Riverside and Waterside area, the ‘no cycling’ signs there have now been removed.

The authority insists allowing cyclists to use the area will improve it for everyone - and the Ely Cycling Campaign agrees.

But some non-cyclists insist the move will put pedestrians’ safety at risk.

Mum-of-two Harriet King, of Back Hill, Ely, said: “I walk along the Riverside with my children quite often and can only describe this decision as extremely worrying.

“Despite the ban, a lot of cyclists ignore it and use the route anyway, and the number of times I’ve witnessed people having to leap out of the way to avoid cyclists coming towards them at high speed is scary.

“I’m worried that a child or an elderly person is going to fall into the river as it is. Lifting the bicycle ban is going to make the area dangerous for pedestrians in my view.”

Commenting on ely-news.co.uk, another resident said: “Here we go again – more rights for the cyclist and none for the pedestrian. Let’s hope someone doesn’t end up in the river.

“I will not give way to a cyclist if I am challenged by one on the pathway. Cycles belong on cycleways or roads, not pathways.”

The decision has been made as part of the council’s Ely Riverside Improvement Plan, which, in time, will also see new solar lights installed in the area, as well as designated duck feeding areas.

Cllr Richard Hobbs, chairman of the council’s community and environment committee, said: “Our priority has been to look at ways to enhance the Riverside area.

“We were helped a lot by the feedback from the public, who highlighted the areas they wanted improved.”

The Ely Cycling Campaign has welcomed the decision.

A spokesman said: “We’re really pleased that the ban on cycling along the riverside in Ely is being lifted.

“This is one of the simple improvements we’ve been campaigning for and it’s great to see it come to fruition.

“We’re hoping this will be the first of many improvements that will make Ely and East Cambridgeshire a safer and more pleasant place to travel by bike.”

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