Council admits bays remain dangerous for some ‘blue badge’ holders

The council was asked whether it was failing to meet its equalities duty because “unsafe” parking bays leave much of the seafront inaccessible to wheelchair users.

The problems arose when the new “temporary” seafront cycle lane was created last summer.

Disability campaigners from Brighton Access for Disabled Groups Everywhere (BADGE) were horrified to see disabled parking bays by the Peace Statue were off-set away from the pavement, with the cycle lane between cars and the kerb.

BADGE campaigner Pippa Hodge raised the problems with members of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee at Hove Town Hall.

She highlighted video surveillance of the seven bays on the A259 showing a wheelchair user forced to travel into the cycle lane to reach their vehicle, swerving bikes.

She said that five safer bays were promised on the north side of the road in March but since then nothing had happened.

She said: “Under your Active Travel Scheme ‘our’ seafront remains inaccessible for a second summer.

“Do councillors find it acceptable that 10 months later officers still haven’t addressed these grave concerns?”

She queried whether the council was in breach of its own “equalities impact assessment” to protect disabled access and safety.

Risks were identified 10 months ago, she told the committee, and councillors had not acted on BADGE’s feedback.

Green councillor Amy Heley, who chairs the committee, said that there was no change to the number of disabled bays as a result of the new cycle lane.

She said that some of the disabled bays were off-set from the kerb with extra space on either side for safety reasons.

Some of those getting out of vehicles in the disabled parking bays have had close shaves with passing cyclists, causing danger to people with disabilities as well as to cyclists

Councillor Heley said: “We do recognise that while this does recognise the design standard, people do still need to take care when near vehicles or when passengers exit vehicles due to the location.

“We do recognise why it is still dangerous for some users. We are currently investigating additional parking bays along the seafront to further improve access.”

The council acknowledged that the new temporary cycle lane and disabled parking bays remained dangerous

Residents and businesses in the area would need to be consulted before any extra bays were added, which Councillor Heley said would take time.

  1. Nathan Adler Reply

    So the chair of ETS admits they are dangerous? Is this an admission of liability if an accident happens? The irony is there was not an issue with the old bays and if officers had bothered to consult with disability groups prior to the ‘temporary’ lane there would never have been an issue here – it a mess of their own making. I think it’s shameful that the city can create a cycle lane in weeks but won’t sort out disabled access in nearly a year.

  2. Serena Evans Reply

    Yet installing MORE unwanted cycle lanes is BHCC’s PRIORITY? This is utterly unacceptable.
    How the hell did we get to have a 25 year old student who can’t drive chairing the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee anyway? Those very 60 year old Councillors Councillor Amy Heley has been so disparaging about in her arrogant youth probably have a lot more idea than she does about the Disability Discrimination Act and how not to breach it. Time to sack and sue the little madam. Unfit for purpose.

  3. PaulFWilliams Reply

    The Germans have a word for ‘improvements’ which make things worse. ‘Verschlimmbesserung’. Brighton and Hove City Council need to adopt this word as they encapsulate this word perfectly in everything they do. Completely unfit for purpose and uninterested in their lawful statutory obligations to citizens. Only interested in their own woke agendas. They need to step down now.

  4. jjgoldsmith Reply

    I am all for cycle lanes but not at the expense of disabled people. I voted Green last time – I will not make that mistake again. I thought we were supposed to be the city of sanctuary

  5. Angle Grinder Reply

    The Greens talk the talk, but the plain truth is they’re disablist. It’s fine if you’re young, fit and healthy, but not if you’re old, disabled or just have the sort of mobility issues which mean you can’t walk or cycle everywhere. And because hardly any of them have a job outside politics, academia or campaigning organisations like Sustrans, they have no idea about the practicalities of trying to get tools and parts from a van to a job if you’re a plumber, builder or electrician.
    Yesterday, I had to fit a new boiler and two radiators near the top of Elm Grove and take away the old ones. I’m fit and healthy, but it was hard enough loading and unloading them from my van. Much as I love cycling (I’ve done the London to Brighton Bike Ride four times), I couldn’t have carried out that job using my bike.
    My last job on a building site was near Eastbourne, quite a way from the nearest railway station or bus stop. I couldn’t have got there from Fiveways by bike for 7.45am each day with all my tools. Just about everyone else on that site faced a comparable journey from all different directions.
    I voted Green at the last election because I genuinely care about the environment. I won’t vote Green again because I care about people too and, increasingly, I don’t think they do. I fit the most efficient heating systems that I can so that people can have the hot water they need at the lowest environmental cost. I’ve been trying to learn how to install solar pv panels so that I can help other like-minded people. And I’m trying to save for an electric or hybrid van. I don’t have a car, and locally I ride my bike most places.
    I know not everyone is as fortunate as me, including two slightly older relatives, one with arthritic joints, and the other with a gammy ankle. They increasingly rely on taxis, or lifts from friends and family, for even basic living needs.
    The Greens don’t seem to understand the needs of anyone but themselves, or else they seem to take such an ideological view that they look to be intent on turning Brighton into a very unfriendly place for anyone other than their young Green master race. They’ve lost my vote.

  6. Billy Short Reply

    My objection has never been that we have cycle lanes, but is about the way this bizarre change has been done.

    It’s dishonest in that the new lanes were never going to temporary, and their usage has been lied about, plus the real goal seems to be restrict traffic flow even though no alternative means of transport has been provided.

    If you change road layout then this must be part of a logical city-wide transport strategy – whereas in this case it has just been a land grab on the part of the lycra lobbyists. The cycle lanes do not even achieve any of the green goals that were stated. On the seafront they have duplicated a perfectly good cycle lane, and that has created a permanent gridlock of traffic and spoils the area for all residents, commuters, delivery vehicles, buses, and visitors.

    So here we have a further admission of failure, namely that the new parking bays are not safe for many disabled drivers. I would go further and say all the new parking bays that are now stuck in the middle of the road are not safe for anybody.
    For the family trying to park a car next to the beach you either have to get out of your car into a continuous line of traffic or else into a cycle lane which is either empty or full of bike hirers who don’t look where they are going. Once on the pavement with your kids and beach toys, you then have to negotiate the second and busier cycle lane.

    If you are a resident or pedestrian just trying to cross the seafront road you now have to cross an endless line of traffic with no gaps, and then there’s the mid road parking, and then a cycle lane, and then a second cycle lane. Which idiot did not think this through, or did they actually decide this was better than the layout we had before which was working just fine?

    • Hove Guy Reply

      Don’t expect logic and common sense from this council. They are brilliant at creating chaos and mess at whatever totally unnecessary changes they go on making. Intelligence does not seem to be part of their job description, only a misguided Green/Labour agenda.

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