Bike swarm celebrates new cycle lanes

Posted On 23 Sep 2020 at 2:48 pm

Scores of cyclists rode through Brighton and Hove yesterday to support the city’s new cycle lanes.

The Brighton bike swarm, organised by climate campaigners Extinction Rebellion and cycling group Bricycles, saw about a hundred cyclists ride from The Level to the West Pier.

Part of their journey took in new cycle lanes along Valley Gardens and the new A259 cycle lane.

Mimi Pellew, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Brighton, said: “The ride was a fun, family-friendly celebration of the new cycle lanes that have been installed in Brighton and Hove.

“It also showed the breadth and depth of support from people of all ages for more active travel infrastructure so people can get around the whole city in a safe, healthy and green way.

“Government data shows that pedestrians and people cycling are twice as likely to be killed or seriously injured in a road traffic accident in Brighton than car drivers.

“Something has gone badly wrong in our city if the healthy, environmentally-friendly travel option is also the more dangerous one.
“There’s also no route to reducing pollution, which kills dozens prematurely every year in Brighton, and tackling climate change that doesn’t involve encouraging people out of their cars.

“On top of that, it’s worth noting that, as well as causing premature deaths under normal circumstances, pollution leads to worse outcomes for Covid-19 patients.

“The case for improved, safe cycling and walking infrastructure is overwhelming.”

Riders cycled in a socially-distanced way, wore masks and used hand sanitizer.

  1. Nick Reply

    Interesting picture. For a group talking about cyclist safety it’s worrying how many do not have helmets on. Fewer still hi-vis. Yes, hopefully there won’t be an accident but should still be worn just like seatbelts are. And I speak as a cyclist who wears a helmet and has been glad of one!

    The picture also shows a cyclist using the road lane rather than the cycle lane

    But most tellingly, there are lots of cyclists going one way. But along the existing cycle lane, which was already physically separated from cars, no cyclists!

    I support more cycle lanes and particularly a cycle network. But this is not a good example as running parallel to an existing lane! This isn’t the right battle and is causing pollution

    Yes, “the case for improved safe cycling and walking infrastructure is overwhelming” as swarm say – but has to be well designed, planned and people brought along. With this the council as fail, fail, fail to these three. Rethink, regroup and do better next time.

    • George Banford Reply

      Once again, cars cause pollution, not bicycles.

      Why is no one worrying about the pollution caused on every single UK road, day and night, by vehicles? What about the vehicles you’ll see, sitting at the side of the road, idling, if you walk down any UK road?

      Is this pollution caused by bicycles too?

  2. Benny Reply

    Indeed pollution is dangerous but that’s what the council encourages with its congestion schemes. This is not a vote for the car, it’s a plea for employing someone with intelligence in the planning dept

    • Catherine Reply

      The other cycle lane is for going west to east, so they are on the correct one.

    • Jeremy Hooks Reply

      > Fewer still hi-vis

      Hi-vis is essential, otherwise how is anyone going to see 100+ cyclists?

  3. cleanshirt3000 Reply

    I’m fully behind improving the cycling infrastructure. Everyone needs to be able to use the roads safely, not just those inside a metal box.

    I actually think the silent majority agree with this. I urge the councillors not to be swayed by the ranty, reactionaries.

  4. Megan Reply

    It is not cycle lanes that cause pollution, it is motorised traffic that causes pollution. Imagine all the 80 or so people in cars, rather than on their bikes and the traffic mayhem and chaos that would’ve caused! It’s great that there is now a properly wide cycle lane on the seafront where there is enough space for people who are cycling, walking or driving. The cycle lane that was there has been not fit for purpose for decades, it is not wide enough and too easy for pedestrians to walk into. Agree we need a proper cycle networkin the city with cycle lanes that are wide enough.

    Nick and Benny: highly recommend reading this website: to educate yourself about helmet not improving safety and cycle lanes not increasing pollution

    And Nick, as per your nitpicky comments on the picture, there are also no cars on the road, maybe we should make the whole road available for people to ride there bikes then.

  5. Peter Challis Reply

    Yet another publicity stunt from the cycling activists to make it seem the cycle lanes are being used. They claim they help reduce emission levels, but they don’t seem to have any figures to support this.

    And this after their showcase Old Shoreham Road cycle lane extension is apparently only use by less than1 cyclist per minute nearly 5 months after it was introduced as a “field of dreams” scheme that has similarly resulted in congestion and delays.

    At least it might fool the council’s traffic sensors into thinking the cycle lanes are being used more than they actually are.

    Lets hope Councillor Amy Heley is not as obsessed as Peter West was with making cycling the answer to every transport issue in the city. Where is the proper park-and-ride scheme that the city needs to provide a practical alternative to private transport?

    • Samantha Buksh Reply

      Park-and-ride is not an alternative to private transport. It merely transports pre-existing car-related problems to outlying parts of the city.

      Given that Brighton & Hove has only a couple of cycle lanes, yet has seen emissions and congestion rise steadily over the last 50 years, how will getting rid of cycle lanes promote cycling and improve congestions and emissions?

      How do you propose to make it easier and safer for people to cycle and walk?

  6. Keh Reply

    Gosh where did they find all those cyclists? Why have they not used the other path on the seafront? Why no helmets if they are so worried about safety? Went along Old Shoreham road twice today at rush hour saw two cyclists !!!! Just slow moving cars due to loss of lanes.

  7. Pippa Hodge Reply

    Good point about helmets and hi-vis. They’re not needed in cities where cycling is safe, as cycling itself is not ineherently dangerous. The danger comes from motor vehicles.

    The point of safe, protected cycle lanes is to allow more people to cycle. Given that we’ve had 70+ years of pro-car policy, and that many roads in Brighton & Hove are still unsafe and that speeding is common, the cycle lanes will not suddenly become full overnight.

    There are many more cars than bicycles on the road, as people are keen to point out. This is exactly the problem, and it needs fixing now.

    Ignoring pollution, congestion, inactivity-reduced diseases, poor air quality, climate change and car dependency, or blaming these issues on bicycles, will not make them go away.

  8. Dave Wheels Reply

    Not sure it’s really pro-car policy! It’s the interwoven mesh of our whole economic, transport, geospatial and town planning policies over more than a century.
    Workplaces were once close to the homes of the workers, for instance, pit villages and dockside dwellings. Over time, safety requirements, marketplace economics and production efficiencies all meant workplaces became concentrated in zones like the City of London, or shopping centres like Western Road and Churchill Square.
    Commuting became commonplace. And yet many millions are not well-served by bus and train routes and nor do they have manageable routes for cycling (I mean the distance or terrain rather than any lack of cycle lanes). Or they have heavy loads, like tools, or deliveries, making their work and/or commute unsuited to cycling.
    It really isn’t as simple as some seem to suggest. But while the coronavirus has given us pause for thought, the disastrous response to it – a lockdown of the fit and well rather than just the infectious – has caused a bigger economic crash than the 2008 financial crisis, and that was the worst for many since the 1930s.
    Already in Brighton and Hove, congestion and traffic displacement from the ridiculous new cycle lanes has led to more pollution and meant that routes I happily cycled along a few months ago have now become unpleasant. I am cycling less as a result. I do not feel safer, because frustrated drivers are filling once quiet side streets.
    I want more cycle lanes but they really need to be better designed than this. Genuine consultation would help. My partner is unable to cycle but does not qualify for a blue badge. It’s maddening to see some simplistic commenters villifying people like her for trying to play an active role in our community and economy.
    If she gave up driving, a committed carer would be lost to our locality even though there’s already a shortage. Her hard-won qualifications would go to waste. She would never reach all those she cares for in one day by public transport. Like so much in life, there’s a balance.
    What’s struck me throughout all this is how many fellow cyclists have reservations and criticisms of the new cycle lanes. I’m no petrolhead. But the council’s flawed approach and amateurish execution has bodged what could and should have been a chance to advance the cycling cause.

  9. Keith Reply

    I didn’t need a cycle lane to use the A259… These are amateurs.

    I think people are confusing pollution with congestion. What else contributes to congestion? Smart lights, the ones that detect traffic and change if someone approaches. Some others are staying red for far too long.

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