From January 2016, cycle lane users throughout the borough of Southend will be able to ride a little more safely with the introduction of CCTV cameras and regular patrols to prevent them being used by pedestrians, buggies, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
At a cost of £6m per year, these measures will form part of a larger package of measures designed to ensure that Southend cyclists can ride while keeping the need for spatial awareness to an absolute minimum. Across the entire network, officers will have the authority to issue £60 fixed penalty notices for anyone who strays into a designated cycle lane – even if it is an otherwise safe place to cross the road.
Lance Halfords-Spoke is the president of the Southend Association Federation for Safer Cycling, and he explained his delight at the new initiative. He said, ‘For too long now, non-cycle users have been treating cycle lanes like an extension of the pavement, and some parents with pushchairs are even crossing them to get from the road to the pavement. From January 2016, these menacing individuals will be forced to find the nearest zebra crossing, footbridge or subway, and a number of our members have already said that they will feel empowered to stop using lights and helmets too without the danger of being viciously assaulted by a stationary wheelchair that cannot get up the kerb.’
Another element of the plan is the decision to ban pedestrians from the entire stretch of pathway between Chalkwell Station and Old Leigh. According to Mr Halfords-Spoke this was a necessary move as over 2,500 cyclists are forced into the sea by pedestrians on this path every year.
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