PROPOSALS to allow cycling in the town centre have been approved – and the scheme could come into force within six months.
The council’s corporate and environment overview and scrutiny committee agreed on the proposed pilot scheme following an 18-month review aimed at encouraging cycling within the borough last week.
But the plans – which will have to be submitted to the county council to be ratified – have sparked an angry reaction from elderly shoppers.
James Genge, 71, said: “It just seems like going backwards. There’s going to be kids speeding around doing bunny hops over market stalls.”
William Skeels, 73, said: “We don't want to be frightened to death by someone flying past if they can’t see us coming. They say there’s no accidents – well, I don’t want to be the first one run over.”
Cllr Rob Bailey, chairman of the scrutiny committee, said that the evidence simply was not there to support the concerns.
He said: “The whole reason the report was held back [for a few months] was to look at evidence that opening up the town centre to bicycles was a problem.
“Your intuition is to think it seems a bit dangerous, but all the evidence is it doesn’t happen.
“Studies have demonstrated it’s safe. There may be some restrictions on market days but otherwise the intention is to allow cycling. It might also take pressure off the car parks with a greener alternative.”
The scheme ties in with a proposed cycle route from Edge Hill to the train station, as well as a £650,000 revamp scheme centred around refurbishing Moor Street.
Cllr Bailey added: “We are trying to ensure the town’s long-term survival as a shopping destination and anything we can do to encourage people to come to Ormskirk we will do.”