TOWNSFOLK are urged to get their bikes - but to do so safely after a rise in complaints about cyclists riding on pavements and footpaths.

One woman was even hospitalised after being hit by a cyclist, it is claimed, on a narrow footpath in Bridport.

The past three months has seen an increase in exercise activity in and around Bridport, with more people walking, jogging and cycling. Bridport Town Councillors hope this trend can be sustained after the lockdown.

“Getting people out of cars and walking and cycling into town will be better for the health of our residents and our town,” said Bridport mayor, Cllr Ian Bark.

During lockdown, the new mayor has been writing a blog on the town council website and features the increase in the number of cycle routes serving the town and improvements to the ‘Bridport Green Route’, which the town council is extending and improving allowing better and healthier access to the town.

However, Cllr Bark expressed 'deep concern' that town councillors have been receiving an increase in complaints about cyclists riding on pavements and footpaths.

“Recently a woman was hospitalised after being hit by a cycle on a narrow footpath, experienced road cyclists have been seen on pavements in the centre of town, and there have been several reports of inconsiderate behaviour when using the new cycle routes," said Bridport Town Council leader, Cllr Dave Rickard.

“We now have a much-extended cycle network from Bradpole, Sea Road North and South, across Asker Meadows and now down to West Bay.”

But, he added: “Everybody needs to remember that the cycle ways are free access for all, pedestrians, people with prams and buggies, mobility scooters as well as cyclists and everybody is required to respect all other users. Bridport has declared itself as Britain’s first ‘Rights Respecting Town’ and we do expect that increased level of awareness to ensure that all people have the same rights of safe access to the facilities we provide within our town.”