Cycle menace in Southend park

Cyclists speeding through Belfairs Park must be more cautious after a series of near misses, a Southend councillor has said.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, Belfairs Park has become a popular exercise spot for cyclists but Councillor Stephen Aylen, who represents the ward, has said many of them are putting others at risk.

Cllr Aylen said he is making the warning after a cyclist came close to knocking him over during a walk.

“I was walking with my partner down a path which was a reasonable width, but someone came down at high speed and grazed my arm, they didn’t even slow down,” he said.

“Most people are out cycling with kids and don’t cause any problems. You see all sorts of families out riding but then you have this other group who don’t care about anybody else and that is the problem. It is the bad apple minority that is ruining it for everyone.”

He said that he understands people have sports they are passionate about and they want to keep training but they must also acknowledge the current situation is not normal and everyone needs to adjust.

He continued: “We’ve had to take golf away so people can enjoy the park. Our golfers have stopped playing, they have had to adjust. But it is like some of these cyclists have taken no notice to the fact we are all adjusting.

“All I am asking is for people to slow down.”

Councillor Martin Terry, who oversees community safety, said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have asked residents to be considerate and respectful of others, including during their daily exercise.

“Many people have taken up running and cycling, and I am urging those exercising to consider their actions, and other people when out.

“This includes not riding too close to people and observing social distancing.

“Our parks and open spaces are popular for exercise, and it is vital that we work together throughout these unprecedented times. If you wish to cycle in a park, please try to use those parks with permissive cycle paths.”

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter