'Outrage' over Woking town centre cycle scheme

Image caption,
Campaigners for disabled people opposed the scheme to allow cyclists in pedestrian areas

A scheme to allow cyclists to use pedestrian areas in a Surrey town is going out to public consultation - after it has been made permanent.

The six-week ask-the-people exercise on the "shared space" in Woking began on Monday, along with a campaign to raise awareness.

Surrey County Council (SCC) transport boss Iain Reeve said it had an open mind and wanted to hear people's views.

But Clive Wood, a campaigner for the disabled, said he was "outraged".

"It is a done deal," he said.

"You don't introduce something and then seek people's views and concerns."

The shared space operated on an experimental basis for 18 months before being made permanent in September.

Mr Reeve said the council wanted Woking to be a "cycling demonstration town" to show how people could be encouraged to use bikes.

Surrey Disabled People's Partnership opposed the scheme, which relies on pedestrians, motorists and cyclists making eye contact to establish who moves first.

Near misses

"We understand it is good to promote cycling but you need to consider the pedestrians and how safe they are going to be," said Mr Wood.

"If you are visually impaired or blind or if you have limited mobility how can you make eye contact?"

Mr Reeve said there were no reported accidents during the trial period, but SCC was aware some people felt there had been near misses.

"The reason we did an experimental order first is because it is very difficult for people to visualise a shared space before they have seen one," he said.

"If it hasn't worked we will take it out. It certainly is not a done deal."

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