Felixstowe prom cycling ban to be temporarily lifted

Cycling may be permitted on Felixstowe prom after being banned for 32 years.

Cycling may be permitted on Felixstowe prom after being banned for 32 years. - Credit: Archant

Tourism chiefs believe there is “a lot of merit” in removing the ban on cycling along Felixstowe’s promenade.

Town councillors have agreed that cycling on the prom should have a year’s trial – and if it is a success, then the current by-law restrictions would be removed permanently.

Cyclists though will have to fulfil their part of the bargain by riding sensibly along the two-mile walkway at reasonable speeds, moving slowly past pedestrians and being aware of the unpredictabilty of children running or playing on the beach and prom, and to avoid using it during busy times and events.

Inspector Roger Salmon, the resort’s police chief, said the current bye-law was unenforceable, and because of the bureaucracy involved, the work bringing anyone to prosecution would be wholly disproportionate to the time spent by an officer in producing the file.

However, he has warned that cyclists misusing the right to cycle could be dealt with under anti-social behaviour offences.

A Suffolk Coastal spokesman said: “We have received the request to trial safe cycling along the promenade in Felixstowe for a year.

“We think this proposal has a lot of merit and could add further to the increasing vibrancy of Felixstowe.

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“We are currently exploring all the issues surrounding the removal of the signs that currently prohibit cycling and are liaising with our colleagues in Felixstowe Town Council and Suffolk County Council highways who own the promenade and have responsibility for its upkeep.”

Dozens of coastal resorts have already scrapped their bye-laws, deciding they are outdated and promenades are acceptable places to cycle – especially with the drive to increase exercise and to attract visitors.

Many people of all ages already cycle along the prom, including some early in the morning and in the evening to and from work at the port.

However, removing the ban has not been greeted with approval by all community leaders.

During the debate at Felixstowe Town Council, councillors Andy Smith and Nick Barber spoke out against the idea – saying the ability for all ages to walk along the prom in safety and without fear was a cherished feature of the seafront that had been enjoyed for more than a century.

Mr Smith said the prom was “the essence, the being” of Felixstowe and it was unthinkable its use could change.

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