22nd August 2012
LYME REGIS: Woman knocked down by Jurassic Classic charity cycling race competitor decries plans for cycle path along Marine Parade
BY Francesca Evans
A LYME Regis woman has spoken out against proposals for a cycle route on Marine Parade after being knocked down by a bike in the town centre.
Marine Parade resident Annette Wakely was knocked down by a cyclist in Broad Street on Saturday afternoon during the Jurassic Classic charity cycling race, which passed through the town.
She had missed the bus at the bottom of Charmouth Road so decided to walk into town for a coffee and catch the next bus in Broad Street.
The 32-year-old mother of four said: “We crossed the road. I had my daughter and my friend with me. I had got almost all the way across the road when this bike zoomed down. It came out of no where and I went flying into a car.”
She told the View how those who witnessed the accident had flagged down a passing coastguard car. Ms Wakely was also helped by police, the first response team and a pharmacist from Boots before eventually being taken to Exeter Hospital by ambulance.
She suffered a suspected broken leg and is now walking on crutches, as well as bruising on her arm where she hit the car. Her injuries have caused problems in looking after her four children.
Ms Wakely added: “I don’t even know who the person who knocked me down was. Why couldn’t he just have gone around me?
“PC Winward said he thought they were going 30 to 35 miles per hour.
“It was lucky it was me really, not someone older or my children.”
She said she had not heard about a cycling race passing through the town that day and that there were no marshals on Broad Street warning pedestrians.
Now Ms Wakely has spoken out against a possible cycle path along the Cart Road and/or Marine Parade - a proposal that has recently been resurrected by Lyme Regis Town Council and is currently under discussion.
When asked what she thought about cycling in Lyme Regis Ms Wakely said: “Just stop it!
“Having a cycle path down along here is not wise.”
She said her youngest child was now walking and another of her children suffered from autism and they didn’t “understand the danger”.
“It would be an absolute nightmare,” she added.
Her concerns have been backed up by town and district councillor, George Symonds, who said the proposed cycle path was an “accident waiting to happen”.
“As a councillor I’m against this but some councillors seem to think its fine. There’s no reason why cyclists can’t push their bikes along the seafront, it’s only a few hundred yards.
“We have a lot of children, elderly people and the infirm that walk along there with no fear of being knocked down by a bike.
“As a father of young children myself, I would be concerned for their safety.
“It’s alright saying all other towns have it but we’re not other towns.”
Further concerns over the safety of a cycle path along the seafront were expressed at a recent full town council meeting, before Ms Wakely’s accident.
Cyclists are currently only able to pedal along the Cart Road to the barrier, where cars are also stopped.
Councillor Owen Lovell asked who the extended path would really benefit.
“It won’t be the elderly residents, tourists or young people,” he added.
Cycle path supporter, Councillor Chris Clipson, argued that Lyme Regis was the only place along the coast that didn’t provide anything for cyclists.
“We have had requests from cyclists who would like to visit Lyme Regis. If we don’t provide anything for them they will turn up and leave straight away. We want to provide for all types of people,” he said.
“You can walk along the seafront, push a buggy along the seafront, drive a buggy along the seafront and, if you have a disabled badge, you can even park on the Cart Road.”
Councillor Clipson also mentioned the need for cycle racks near the seafront.
Councillor Lovell replied: “I have no objection to cycle racks. My objection is the route along the main part of Marine Parade. Cyclists can get off and push their bikes along there.”
Councillor Clipson said he had never seen a cyclist riding a full speed along the seafront. He added: “I don’t propose to see it and I don’t think our proposals will encourage it.”
Councillor Lucy Campbell said it had not been discussed in detail where the route would go, what time of day or season it would be in use.
She added: “This isn’t even a recommendation on our agenda so we will still be going ahead and getting health and safety advice. I don’t see what the big deal is.”
PICTURE: CONCERNED: Bike crash victim Annette Wakely and Councillor George Symonds have both spoken against cycle path proposals
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