Saturday, 29 May 2004

First published in the Argus on Friday 28 May 2004:
Letter: Let councillors ride in death trap cycle lanes

I was interested to see the letters from Dave Duggan and Councillor Craig Turton (Letters, May 21).

Coun Turton assures us that the council is committed to encouraging alternative transport but isn't it time he opened his eyes to the fact the reason people don't use the cycle tracks is that they are death traps?

Any serious cyclist can tell Coun Turton where the most dangerous places to cycle are - the metre of road nearest the kerb has the steepest camber and all the drains.

A pavement full of meandering and inattentive pedestrians with dogs and children running around is obviously not safe to cycle on.

The metre of road next to parked cars has obvious dangers from motorists throwing car doors open and people stepping out between cars.

So where has the council put cycle lanes? The ones in Preston Road are nearest the kerb. The one along the seafront, where Dave Duggan has had accidents in the past, is on a pavement which many people want to use for a quiet stroll.

A few years ago I witnessed an accident in Church Road outside Hove Library, when a motorist flung his door open and knocked a cyclist off. She had been cycling right next to the parked cars, where the cycle lane is now.

The overriding design consideration has obviously been "we can't take too much road away from car drivers can we." But isn't it time the people who design cycle tracks actually gave some serious thought to making them safe for cyclists?

Many of those we have at the present are barely as wide as a pair of handlebars so a large vehicle travelling close to the cycle track is likely to strike the side of any cyclist using it. They have limited signage to warn pedestrians or motorists that they should keep out. There is nothing to stop motorists from parking across them and they seem to start and finish without any consideration as to where cyclists should go next. In fact most of them are far more dangerous than just cycling on the road and dicing with the cars.

So, before Coun Turton and his colleagues on the environment committee spend any more of our money on narrow strips of red tarmac, they should get some bikes and try out some of these death tracks themselves. If they survive the experience, they may be better qualified to pontificate about safety and alternative transport.

-Ian James, Portslade

Sunday, 23 May 2004

The Observer: Scandal of our deadly cycle lanes: "The dangerous road layout that has claimed one life in London is now being promoted across the country as a model of good design"
Greenfield Avenue cycle lane - a weird one from Stourbridge.

Saturday, 22 May 2004

Share our promenade
First published on Friday 21 May 2004:

Letter: Share our promenade
I hope the police community safety officers play fair and politely remind pedestrians that the cycle lanes are for cyclists.

After all, they have the lion's share of the promenade as it is and can walk three or four abreast, chatting to each other.

On the cycle lane there is just enough room for two cyclists to pass going in opposite directions.

-Lis Cole, Hove"
Fine pedestrians as well
First published on Friday 21 May 2004:

Letter: Fine pedestrians as well
If police have time to fine cyclists for not using the cycle lanes, why not fine pedestrians using the cycling lane?

The cycle lane is there so pedestrians don't get hurt.

-Omar Anabtawi, Hove."
Cycling on the prom is expensive: First published in the Argus on Friday 21 May 2004:

Letter: Cycling on the prom is expensive
The silly season is truly here early this year. In the past two years I have had two serious accidents while cycling on the seafront.

On the first occasion an Australian tourist ran across the road and straight into me and my bike. It took another passer-by to untangle her from the spokes and �65 for me to get my bike working again.

The second occasion a woman pushed her trendy pram straight at me, catching my chain and necessitating a new set of gears.

Where was I cycling? On the council-provided cycle lane between the piers, of course.

Ask any regular cyclist what experience they have of this dreaded lane and they will tell you it is safer to cycle on the broader stretch of seafront prom than risk the oblivious and often aggressive attitude of pedestrians who dominate the cycle lane.

Next time I'm approached when cycling 'illegally', I will not pay a fine but will present Brighton and Hove City Council with the accumulated costs incurred by me for cycling in designated cycle lanes where pedestrians are not warned of the existence of the cycle lane, nor challenged when they flout it in their thousands every day in the summer.

It is safer to cycle on the prom. There is room to predict and react to those around you.

-Dave Dugan, Kemp Town"
Enjoyment for all: "
First published in the Argus on Friday 21 May 2004:

Letter: Enjoyment for all
I agree with Mr John Lemonius (Letters, May 14) that one of the nicest pastimes this time of year is to cycle along the seafront - and there is a perfectly good cycle lane on which to do it.

The problems come when cyclists speed along the promenade endangering people out for a stroll. It is clearly signposted so there should be no doubt cycling there is illegal.

The council and the police must ensure our seafront is safe for everyone who wants to use it. Indeed, it is local residents who asked the council and police to take this action.

Would Mr Lemonius rather see The Argus reporting a serious pedestrian injury due to a speeding cyclist or that we are taking steps to prevent potential conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists?

I can also assure Mr Lemonius that this Council is committed to encouraging alternative forms of transport to the car.

We are creating more cycle lanes, safer crossing points and junctions for cyclists and pedestrians and improving public transport through our local partnerships.

Our promenade is entering its busiest period for visitors. Not taking action to discourage illegal cycling would increase the chances of an accident.

As a City that attracts thousands of visitors to our seafront, we would like everyone to enjoy their summer on the beach whether they walk or cycle.

-Councillor Craig Turton, Deputy chairman, environment committee"

Saturday, 15 May 2004

Letter: Mon dieu:
First published on Friday 14 May 2004:

Letter: Mon dieu

I disagree with the Police fining cyclists riding 'two or three abreast at 30mph' along the promenade.

If they can attain such speeds they shouldn't be penalised, they should be encouraged to enter the Tour De France.

-Jo Burt, Southwick
Letter: Police should stop wasting time targeting cyclists

First published on Friday 14 May 2004:

Letter: Police should stop wasting time targeting cyclists

Have the police really got nothing better to do?

I thought we were supposed to be encouraging people to get out of their cars and get some exercise.

What could be nicer than cycling along the seafront amidst the roller bladers, joggers and walkers?

I was in Munich last month and was amazed and delighted by the number of people on bikes - all shapes and ages - and happily mixing with other park users without the need to single them out.

Coincidentally there didn't appear to be much traffic in the centre of Munich either.

Will the police be issuing fines to the pedestrians who amble aimlessly into the cycle lanes?

Or what about wobbling roller bladers careering from one side of the prom to the other?

Sure - have a stern word with cyclists who 'ride two or three abreast at 30mph' (are they maybe being confused with bikes that have engines?), but please don't do any more to discourage people from getting out of their cars and on to healthier and more environmentally friendly modes of transport.

-John Lemonius, Steyning,

Tuesday, 11 May 2004

This presumably refers to the ultra-wide Hove esplanade?

Bike-lane rebels cop �30 tickets: First published in The Argus on Monday 10 May 2004:

Bike-lane rebels cop �30 tickets
by Huw Borland

Cyclists riding illegally were given �30 on the spot fines during a police operation on Brighton and Hove seafront.

Police Community Safety Officers on bikes yesterday issued tickets which have to be paid within 28 days.

PSCOs Ben Mitchell and Nick Packham issued a fine within minutes of starting their patrol, when a cyclist refused to leave the promenade.

Mr Mitchell said: 'The fines are a little unexpected for people and they say they did not know the rules but there are enough signs.

'We just explain that they have to use the cycle lane. If we see them do it a second or a third time, we use strict penalties.

'People do go along here at ridiculous speed. When they ride two or three abreast at 30mph, it's simply dangerous.

'We're trying to make the promenade safer for everyone.'

The cycling ban on the promenade was introduced to prevent accidents and make walkers feel safer.

But pedestrian and father-of-two Matt Taylor, 39, of Brighton, was annoyed.

He said: 'I think �30 is too extreme. The promenade is a lovely place to ride a bicycle.

'As long as they take due care, it's a shame to take it away from cyclists. The council put a cycle lane by the road when there is enough room on the promenade.

'Everyone likes to jog or roller-blade along here but you cannot ride. Having the cycle lane by the road is encouraging people to break the rules.'

Cyclist Albino Monteiro, 38, of Hove, said people who disobeyed the rules should be penalised and felt it was important to keep walkers and bikes apart.

He said: 'If cyclists have been told once and they do not do as they are told, they deserve a fine.

'The cycle lane has been made for us so we should use it. Cyclists should respect the laws. That's how you stop people getting hurt.'

Mr Mitchell said random police patrols to enforce the cycling ban could be expected throughout the summer."