Tuesday, 21 December 2004

Letter: Would-be cyclists put off by road dangers: from Ian Bullock
First published in the Argus on Monday 20 December 2004:

Letter: Would-be cyclists put off by road dangers

Adam Trimingham's piece (The Argus, December 15) is spot on. There are many problems with cycle lanes in Brighton and Hove as well as elsewhere.

Here are three examples:

1. The stretch behind the King Alfred in Hove, with all those little roads coming out on to the seafront, is positively dangerous. Also, the 90-degree turn coming east into the road down to the car park is difficult to negotiate even at minimal speed without hurting yourself on one or other of the metal posts.

2. Some of the old East Sussex cycle lanes which have been left in place are just a joke and one at least is potentially lethal. Coming into town along the A23 at the southern end of Preston Park, you're supposed to realise you need to cross over and then take the signposted route round the houses and eventually to Preston Circus. But there is a bit of old cycle lane left on the corner going up towards Ditchling Rise which - if you spotted it and misguidedly tried to use it - would leave you on the fast-lane side of the one-way traffic heading up towards Beaconsfield Road.

3. A major problem with Lewes Road - especially the notorious Coombe Terrace stretch and the new provision between Elm Grove and the gyratory - is routine parking in the cycle lanes on double-yellow lines. There seems to be zero enforcement of the parking restrictions.

Many people who have taken up cycling in recent years are genuinely scared of being on a busy road.

For them, not being able to use the cycle lanes properly because of parked vehicles is not just an irritation the way it is for me - it is a positive deterrent and must be even more so to those many folk who would like to use a bike but never quite pluck up the courage.

As for the "young outlaws" Adam mentions, they don't impress me.

I can remember the Forties and Fifties when half the police force seemed to be deployed catching cyclists riding without lights and cycling on the pavement, or jumping red lights.

So I can't see much derring-do in doing these things at a time when the constabulary are far too busy.

As long as you don't ride on the seafront, the chances of having to sprint like the late Reg Harris to avoid arrest are about the same as winning the lottery jackpot.

-Ian Bullock, Brighton