A PETITION to get cycling allowed along Weymouth seafront is set to bring the long-running debate back to the council agenda.
The topic cropped up again on a new web portal which has been set up to share ideas and vision on exciting projects in Weymouth and Portland.
Jason West and Baron Miles founded weyforward.net to help residents share their ideas on how to improve Weymouth.
It comes as an article in the Observer newspaper described Weymouth as a ‘graveyard of ambition’. It prompted a huge backlash as well as calls to make changes.
With a number of topics being discussed on the portal, the cycling issue along the Esplanade is fast gaining momentum, with more than 480 signatures on a petition so far.
At least 600 signatures are needed for the issue to go to council debate.
Mr West, who is an experienced cyclist, said: “Cycling is banned along the Esplanade all year round between the Pavilion all the way along to the SeaLife Park.
“Someone, somewhere has confused pedalling, (cycling) with peddling, hawking, street selling, and the result is that the cycling community of Weymouth & Portland and all of the healthy cycling tourists we welcome are banned from riding their bikes on the seafront all year round, 24 hours a day, due to an ancient and misread bye-law.”
Bye-laws making it an offence to cycle on the promenade have been in place since 1976.
The council has considered the issue in previous years and in 2005 undertook a comprehensive review and assessment of the cycling restrictions that applied to the promenades, including an extensive public consultation.
The results showed that respondents considered cycling should continue to not be permitted along the promenade between the Pavilion and the junction of the Esplanade with Preston Road.
The issue was again fully debated by councillors in 2008.
Mr West, a digital education publisher from Weymouth, said: “Weyforward is a great barometer of what people want to change.
“Once people get behind an idea it will get momentum or someone will start to help and do practical applications to make it happen. “The cycle idea just took off and it has hundreds of signatures now.
“With NHS cuts and green values promoted in our society it makes no sense to me that people are being told they cannot cycle along the route.”
Mr West will present the petition to Christine James, spokesman for transport and infrastructure at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, when 600 signatures have been collected.
Cllr James said: “I have always questioned as to why we can’t get cycling on the seafront. It does need to be debated again. The byelaw is ridiculous – once it has reached 600 signatures they can present it to me and it will be debated by the council again.”
Weyforward allows members of the public to post ideas on how to improve the borough and then giving them the option to vote for their favourites.
It is also proving a hit on Twitter using #Weyforward.
To sign the petition visit secure.avaaz.org and sear for ‘Weymouth Portland and Borough Council Allow pedalling on_the_seafront_ie_cycling’