ELECTRIC buggies doing up to 4mph are permitted to travel on pavements, but not bicycles.
However, the matter of cyclist/pedestrian safety is not as straight-forward as the law would suggest.
The fact is that all over Europe cycling does happen on footpaths and there is no problem provided ‘foot passengers’ (to use a quaint old expression) have absolute priority and riders have courtesy, consideration and common sense.
No cyclist wants to risk colliding with anyone. Reckless riding by some children is another matter.
There is an increasingly important issue here. With ever-rising petrol costs and increasing congestion on the roads, government policy is and should be to encourage people to use pedal-bikes rather than cars.
But the fact is that some roads at certain times are extremely dangerous for cyclists, especially when there is a low sun shining directly in the motorist’s eyes – as at times on Winsover Road for instance.
To encourage cycle use there is a good case for allowing a contraflow for bikes on some parts of our one-way roads in the town to allow cyclists shorter journeys.
Also in the pedestrianised parts of Spalding there are less busy times when it is perfectly safe to ride on the paved areas.
Bear in mind also that for those with dodgy knees or foot problems, cycling can be much less painful than walking – and better exercise than riding a buggy!
In Holland one sees the elderly still getting around on their cycles.
In our flat part of Lincolnshire we are ideally suited for cycling and journeys into town of up to two miles are often quicker by bike. We need to change the culture.
So perhaps the idea of ‘bikes on the pavement’ is not such a clear cut matter of right and wrong.