COUNCILLORS have reluctantly backed plans to ban cycling on a ‘dangerous’ path in Dorchester.
No cycling signs are already in place at Druids Walk, which links Weymouth Avenue and Celtic Crescent, but Dorset County Council is now seeking a traffic regulation order to enforce the signs.
The matter was considered by Dorchester Town Council’s planning and environment committee, which heard representations from local Cyclist Touring Club (CTC) member Roland Tarr.
He said the route was regularly used by schoolchildren and people using facilities in Sawmills Lane such as the Dorchester YMCA, the scout hut and the Dorchester Tennis Club.
Mr Tarr said it was important to encourage people to cycle as getting more people on their bikes could have a major impact on traffic in the town.
He said: “If there is a good local route through that area people are going to cycle and that’s a significant part of solving Dorchester’s traffic problems.”
Mr Tarr said the CTC would be lodging an objection to the proposed order and urging the county council to come up with an alternative solution.
He also questioned whether the order would be effective even if it was imposed.
Mr Tarr said: “I personally don’t think that a 14-year-old will take very much notice of the prohibition and I can’t really see the police going through their and prosecuting 14-year-olds for cycling through there.”
Cllr Richard Biggs, who also represents the town on the county council, said that he had been involved with this proposal for around 18 months and did not see any reason to go back on the proposed order.
However, he accepted that a suitable alternative route needed to be found for cyclists.
He said: “There needs to be an alternative way because going all the way round is not a natural route for cyclists and people will ignore it.
“The county council need to look at an alternative route and I think they are doing that.”
Cllr Robin Potter said it was ‘regrettable’ that the situation had arisen after residents erected ‘enormous fences’ either side of Druids Walk that meant it was no longer safe for both cyclists and pedestrians.
He said: “That has made it too dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists to mix.”
Cllr Molly Rennie said: “I think the county council has done absolutely everything it can except for a traffic order.”
The committee agreed to accept the proposed order ‘with great regret’ and asked that the county council look at improvements to offer an alternative route for cyclists.