Review of Brighton junction’s safety carried out in wake of crash which left cyclist fighting for his life
A review of cyclist and pedestrian safety at a major junction in Brighton where a crash left a cyclist fighting for his life for days in hospital is to be carried out after hundreds of people called for a safer road layout.
A police investigation into the crash at the junction of Lewes Road and Elm Grove on July 9 has concluded that the 27-year-old cyclist was at fault – but campaigners argue that it could have been avoided altogether with a safer road layout.
A petition calling on the council to review the junction, and consider removing railings, straighten and add pedestrian crossings and introduce cyclist-only green lights, was signed by 781 people online and on paper.
Earlier this month, temporary cameras were put up on traffic lights at that junction and at the end of Union Road to gather data, and the council will use that to upgrade signals and find any other ways to make it safer.
In an email to councillors, principal transport planner Stacey Amey said: “As you will probably be aware, we are conducting a review of the junction of Elm Grove/Lewes Road/Union Road in order to upgrade the traffic signals and identify possible safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists through the junction.
“As part of this process we will be conducting traffic surveys on Thursday 10 November. This will include installing 10 temporary cameras on lamp columns around the junction which will be installed first thing in the morning and then removed the same day.
“The data gathered will be used to inform the review and will be looking at pedestrian and cycling movements as well as traffic queues and turning movements.”
Campaigner Dani Ahrens, who launched the petition, said: “We should expect that people (however they are travelling) will sometimes make mistakes, and our road design should aim to prevent those mistakes from leading to injury.
“If the junction had been designed to separate bikes and cars at that corner (as I am suggesting) then an error by the cyclist would not have been so hazardous.
I’m pleased the council are looking at safety improvements alongside their planned upgrade of the lights at the bottom of Elm Grove. 781 local residents signed my petition calling for something to be done to make the junction safer for people on bikes and on foot.
“I hope the council’s review will include consideration of the detailed suggestions I’ve submitted for protected cycle paths, as they have in London and other European cities.”
A police spokesman said: “Mark Aylmore, 48, a construction worker of Bayford Road, Littlehampton, appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on September 22 where he pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle with a proportion of a specified controlled drug above the specified limit.
“He was fined £120, costs of £85, victim surcharge of £30 and disqualified from driving for a year.
“An investigation into the cause of the collision found that it was an error on the part of the cyclist. CCTV shows and an independent witness confirmed that as the lorry was turning left, the cyclist approached from the rear at some speed and cycled up the nearside (inside) of the lorry, colliding with its front wheels as it made the turn.
“He was discharged from hospital on July 18.”
Another crash on Lewes Road involving a lorry and a cyclist, Joanna Walters, in 2010 sparked an outcry which led to the review and revamp of the north stretch of the road.
In that case, a coroner concluded that Joanna’s death was a tragic accident. It happened when there was confusion between her and another cyclist travelling in different directions on the two-way cycle lane which led to Joanna being clipped by a passing delivery van.
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