Safety fears for pedestrians on St Ives footpath due to badly behaved cyclists

The Thicket.

The Thicket. - Credit: Archant

Pedestrians using the Thicket footpath between St Ives and Houghton have raised alarm about the dangers of using the route due to the behaviour of cyclists.

St Ives councillor John Davies says he has been approached by people concerned that cyclists are not giving warning of their presence to those walking along the path, and are cycling too fast, which could result in a serious accident.

A project last year to improve the path has led to a large increase in the number of users, says cycling officer Patrick Joyce, of Cambridgeshire County Council. Mr Joyce has offered to meet Cllr Davies to help resolve the issue and look at possible measures that could be taken.

He said in correspondence with Cllr Davies that he had been aware of “a degree of conflict” regarding anti-social cycling, adding that it was the inconsiderate few that caused the problems. Cllr Davies said that there had been several near altercations.

“The Thicket path is very heavily used nowadays by walkers, cyclists, and people walking with their children and dogs. Pedestrians have told me that they fear a serious accident will happen because of the speed of the cycles. It has been said to me that a speed warning sign would be useless, and that a physical calming measure needs to be employed.”

Sarah Basser said she had been using the route for five years since moving to the area. “It’s a real shame that over the last six to eight months cyclists have been using it like a race track and some have got entangled in my dog lead. A line marking where cyclists should ride would be the perfect solution.”

Mr Joyce said that the scheme had been “spectacularly successful”, providing a safe route.

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“For the first time in recent years children can safely visit their friends in the adjoining villages by cycle rather than being driven,” he said. “Mothers with pushchairs, buggy users and the less able can now access the Thicket reserve or make the trip to Houghton. Previously, this was almost impossible and I view the improvements as a huge success.”

He said signs could be added to encourage good behaviour but thought speed control measures would be ineffective as they would need to be placed at close intervals and would make the footpath unpleasant to use for everyone.

“Our experience is that the problem tends to resolve itself over time as people adapt to the changed environment and learn what is expected of them.

“Increased use almost inevitably means an increase in interactions between users but there is a balance to be struck,” he added.

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