Hayling Herald article March 2022

Here’s what we submitted for our Hayling Herald March 2022 column, with online links and more pictures …

Hayling Regeneration

Hayling’s Sea Front does need a refresh, and the Council’s Regeneration Plans look to do that. They said cycling and walking is at their core, but when we looked at the map, it wasn’t clear how. Please keep reminding your councillors about it. There simply isn’t room for any more cars. Check out Cycle Hayling’s 10-point regeneration comments at cyclehayling.org/regen.

But people will only cycle to the sea front if it’s safe and pleasant for them and their kids to cycle all the way from where they live. Most of Hayling’s roads are actually very safe for cycling, but people tell us they don’t always feel that way. It’s up to all of us, as drivers, to make our streets more child-friendly.

It’s great to see we can now ride on our two new cycle paths, but as we’ve said before, they won’t be truly finished until they’ve got a smooth, clean, all-weather surface, not just for bikes, but for push chairs, wheelchairs and disabled buggies. That’s phase 2.

But they still have barriers, to double buggies and the disabled, as well as to cycling. So we’re delighted that Hampshire County Council is looking at removing barriers to cycling and improving signage across the whole county. You can see the submission I sent in at cyclehayling.org/barriers.

And just off the island

There’s no official cycle path from the bridge to the Havant Tesco and the Solent Road shopping centre. Locals who know cut through the car park at Langstone Technology Park, but we can’t show it on maps or signs because it’s private land. But things are looking up – the Park has indicated their coming planning application will convert the public footpath to cycling, and we’ll be able to add it to maps and signs.

And there are big changes to cycling on the way in Havant, where the station will be linked with top quality cycle paths to Havant College, and up the Petersfield Rd to Havant Academy in the north, and Staunton Country Park, and eventually to the Havant Thicket Reservoir, which has now started site clearance, and which we hope will provide safe cycle paths to link to Horndean and Rowlands Castle when it’s finished over the next few years.

And the council are considering a secure, undercover cycle compound at the Meridian Centre, with restricted entry and CCTV. They’re called Cycle Hubs, and they’re getting more common in London, and of course in Holland, where they’re everywhere. As more of us invest in more expensive e-bikes, bike security will become more and more important. So we’d like to see it at the station, and at all our shopping centres. And one car park space can park at least ten bikes!

10 bikes or 1 car!

Highway Code myths

The Highway Code changes have attracted some media myths but we’ve debunked a few of the more common ones:

  • No, cyclists should NOT be cycling in the middle of the road. But they can use the middle of the LANE in specific cases where it would be dangerous to ride in the gutter, or it would be dangerous for cars to pass.
  • No, a bike does NOT have priority over cars, except where it’s going straight on, and a car is turning off.

But the hierarchy of responsibility means that that cars must look after cyclists, as cyclists must look after pedestrians and the disabled, and lorries must look after cars.

These changes just write down what sensible road users were doing already. You can see more details at portsmouthctc.org.uk/the-highway-code-changes.

Tip of the month

The Highway Code does now say that all vehicles should leave at least 1.5 metres gap when passing a cyclist. If you don’t have a ruler handy, leave the width of a Smart Car and you’ll be OK.

Wilf Forrow and the Cycle Hayling committee.
More at cyclehayling.org