Pedestrians call for clear approach signals from cyclists

The regular conflict between pedestrians and cyclists has struck a nerve with people and walkers are calling for clear signals to be made on approaching them.

Both sets share many footpaths, walkways and cycle routes in and around Bury St Edmunds and walkers say they often have to jump out of the way of oncoming cyclists.

But those on their bikes have defended themselves and say much of the blame is with those walkers who fail to be aware of their surroundings.

The issue has been raised on the Nextdoor social media site in recent days following Kevin Manning’s post.

Mr Manning, who lives in Great Barton, said: “My wife and I were on a walk when a (cyclist) with a red hoodie came whizzing past with no indication that he was coming. Riding up close at speed. Just remember young man. Next time I might just stick and elbow out. All cyclists are reminded you don’t own the roads either. We continuously check over our shoulders, it’s just courtesy to let people know you’re there. Perhaps I should walk with a cycle helmet on and a bell on my wrist.”

Ruby Townsend,  from Pakenham, agreed and said: “This happens way too often. It’s happened to my family and I when it was lockdown. I was walking through Thurston by the college and someone on a bike came round the corner where we were crossing the road because he had no indication and then started cursing at us and using hand gestures. Totally unnecessary.”

Jayne Dixon, from the Moreton Hall Estate, said: “This is happening way too often and the cyclists always expect us pedestrians to jump out of the way, sometimes I am sure they do not know where they are allowed to cycle. I get fed up with stepping out of my front garden only to have a bike wizz past. Now there is a few electric scooters starting to appear, and they are far worse.”

Others have backed up the comments.

Geoff B, from Stanton: “I had this happen on a field footpath at speed and so close to me less than two feet away made me jump and no time to social distance just a call out or a bell ring would have given me and my dog a chance to move out of the way , nothing against cycling but don’t get too close and let me know you are there.”

Gilly Hughes, from Bury St Edmunds: “Once upon a time all bikes had bells to ring to alert others of their presence.  Aren’t they made any more?

Lyn Rawlings, from Thurston: “My husband and I walk quite often; being senior citizens our hearing isn’t as good as it once was and we do not hear bikes coming up behind us, there are very few cyclists who have the courtesy to ring their bells (if they even have them) or shout that they are coming.”

Deborah Crelly, from the Mildenhall Road and Howard area: “This is an ongoing dispute for me. I was hit by a bike travelling at speed on the pavement with no lights whilst on my way to work. I went to A&E and eventually had to have £8,000 of bone replacement and dental work. I’ve been sworn at, and had my car kicked. My fear is this will happen to others and children and elderly could be seriously hurt.”

But others have come to the cyclists defence.

Jason Fowler, from Beyton, said: “In my experience as a cyclist, it’s usually the opposite – especially since lockdown. I’ve often been riding round the lanes and come across a group of walkers spread out across the road who see me coming and do absolutely nothing to make room to get past. Unfortunatly lockdown seems to have made some walkers think the back roads are all now walking routes just because they are quieter.”

Jerome Walls, from Rushbrooke: “There is plenty of room on our quiet Suffolk roads and paths if everyone obeys the rules but many don’t. For example, I think at least 50% of people do not seem to know which side of the road to walk on, many cyclists ride on pavements and cars speed in 30mph zones. All easily rectified if only people took the time to think for a minute and live outside of their bubble.”

Eamonn Harvey, from Rushbrooke: “Most cyclists I encounter are very polite and always give me a friendly nod when they whizz by at speed while I’m ‘poodling’ along enjoying our quiet roads.”

Lizzi Flaherty, from Fornham All Saints: “My dad had to get a louder bell because people weren’t reacting when he tried to let them know he was coming. I feel like it goes both ways, cyclists need to be more aware of their speed and distance around pedestrians and pedestrians need to be more aware of their surroundings. And both definitely need to bear in mind that roads were made for cars (or carts originally) It sounds like it comes down to courtesy and safety.”

Jason Fowler, from Beyton: “I’ve lost count of the times I’ve rang my bell, called out etc and walkers are oblivious. Even when they do hear me coming, groups of walkers often just stand across the lane, byway or whatever and make no effort to make space, then tut when I have to squeeze past. Cyclists are generally decent people so if they do pass close to you suddenly maybe walkers should look at their own awareness of their surroundings.”

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