Councillors give their verdict on seafront cycle lane

Councillors have agreed to keep a seafront cycle lane and consult on future changes.

The cycle lane was installed in place of a lane of other traffic on the A259 on the south side of King’s Road, Brighton, and Kingsway, Hove, in August last year.

It was one of Brighton and Hove City Council’s active travel measures funded by the government during the coronavirus pandemic.

A report to the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee yesterday (Tuesday 16 November) said that the number of cyclists using the seafront cycle lanes had risen 51 per cent.

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It said that 2,119 were using it daily in March this year, compared with 1,400 in March 2018.

In June this year, the number of daily cyclists had increased by 85 per cent to 4,897, compared with 2,641 in June 2019.

The report also said that there were indications that the new cycle lane had improved safety.

Labour and Green councillors agreed to approve the legal change that formally makes the cycle lane permanent.

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Conservative councillors voted against and called for long-term options to replace the temporary infrastructure along with the other two political parties.

Councillor Robert Nemeth said that the current lane was “worse” than what was there before and wanted changes before it was made permanent.

He said: “It’s not very logical, it’s ugly, it’s potentially discriminatory and some of that is at least recognised because, hopefully, we’re going to vote to redesign it. I don’t want to vote to make permanent the current one.”

He suggested a look at using the prom as it did not have junctions.

Green councillor Jamie Lloyd said that he understood Councillor Nemeth’s point about the promenade but he was against the idea of a shared space with pedestrians.

Councillor Lloyd said: “It doesn’t work when you have people and bikes in the same place. Bikes need to reclaim road space.

“If we want to reduce private car use, increase active travel, it’s been shown this is the way forward.”

Labour councillor Nancy Platts asked if the council could move disabled bays along Hove seafront, which have the cycle lane between them and the pavement.

In June, disability rights campaigner Pippa Hodge told the committee that disabled groups were horrified to see the bays offset from the pavement.

Councillor Platts said: “We know blue badge members highlighted what they felt was a dangerous part of the scheme.

“Safe access for the blue badge holders needs to be a priority as it is for all other users. One solution is to push the bays back alongside the pavement.”

She was told that council officials were monitoring road safety and looking at various options – and five more disabled parking bays were planned along the seafront.

  1. Dave Reply

    Looks like labour have just lost my vote. Nothing against cycle lanes but when they cause gridlock… They somewhat don’t make sense anymore. Put it back on the pavement, but maybe put bollards between it and the pedestrian path… No need to remove an entire lane of traffic.

  2. Billy Short Reply

    This is so fishy.
    The idea that you already have statistics showing a substantial increase in the cycle lane use is odd and totally unreliable – given the recent pandemic and with more people working from home.
    We also have to ask if that same alleged cycle use increase would have also happened in the existing cycle lane anyway.

    The main objection to the seafront cycle lane remains undiscussed – namely that it duplicates one that was already there, and one which could have been improved, and at a lesser cost
    In my case, I still happily use the original cycle lane and will not go on the road in the pointless addition.
    I’m pretty sure that most cyclists, like me, would also like to be off the road and nearer the sea, with its fresher air and better view.

    So please let’s tell the truth here: If only one of the councillors would finally admit the true main objective for the cycle lane, which was to narrow the seafront road for cars. Perhaps they won’t admit that because it’s not what funding was available for.

    They also won’t admit that it’s turned out to be a stupid idea which has clearly created an unnecessary traffic jam which causes pollution and which is a negative in any logical city-wide transport strategy.
    Do they even have a strategy that understands travel?
    What are the routes that get us from west to east or north to south in this city? Where are the improvements in public transport? Where are the park and ride schemes to help visitors to park outside the city? How are commuters – who live too far away to cycle – to get to work?
    How are buses to flow freely and how are deliveries to be made? In my case, how am I expected to get from Hove to Kemp Town in my carpenter’s van when I have heavy tool boxes and sheets of plywood to deliver?

    As it is, the seafront road is also worse for local residents who, on foot, now have to cross extra confusing lanes to simply get to the beach.
    It’s also a really bad idea for seafront visitors who wish to park near the prom in order to safely unload their kids and beach toys and their elderly relatives. The disability parking issue is another obvious fudge.

    In short, there is not one benefit to this mess they have made on our seafront. Visually it also looks cluttered, like it was designed by a three year old.

    Unfortunately, we seem to be lead by the worst council for a generation. This lot are not delivering basic services, they have been captured by land-grab lobbyists, and are motivated by misplaced ideology that makes no sense in terms of the goals they themselves say they want to achieve.

    • Tina Reply

      Billy – you don’t talk for “most cyclists”. You are a part of a small angry minority of political activists shouting loudly on social media, often with limited understanding of what is actually being discussed.

      The council should take the conservative government minister’s advice on the anti cycling lobby and ignore them.

      • Billy Short Reply

        Well Tina, as someone who built their own bike at the age of 13 and who has always been a cyclist I am hardly part of any anti-cycling lobby.
        You just seem to want to close down any rational discussion about city-wide transport policy and the logical rationing of limited shared space.
        It’s also not good enough a response to say if anyone disagrees with the council view then they are to be ignored.

      • Hove Guy Reply

        On the contrary, Billy has a very clear understanding of what is being discussed. And if anyone appears to be doing the shouting, it is you.

      • Hove Guy Reply

        On the contrary, Billy has a very clear understanding of what is being discussed. And if anyone appears to be doing the shouting, it is you.

    • Steve Reply

      Well said. Totally agree on all points.

    • A Bah Reply

      Well said Billy Short. I agree with you, the cycle lane along the seafront is just wrong, and causes increased pollution. It also impedes emergency services and makes life difficult for businesses as well as the public.

      • David Haskell Reply

        How does the cycle lane impede emergency services? Don’t they either use the the cycle lane to get to the emergency quicker or allow vehicles the space to move into the lane to make space for them?

    • David Haskell Reply

      It sounds like you have a genuine need to use your van to make your deliveries but do you think the majority of the other road users need to drive?

      If you can just encourage a small percentage of those to cycle, your life becomes easier since there will be less cars blocking your way.

      If you think reallocating the space back for cars will make things better you should read up on “induced demand” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_demand).

    • Rachel Reply

      Well said! As someone still working from home but expected to return in January I’m dreading the commute from Southwick to John Street. I work for a large corporation where over 3000 are yet to return to the office and we are not the only large employer yet to return so how on earth can a session be made to make it permanent until the full impact can be seen. I’m also faced with the huge parking costs and public transport is not an option for me it’s infuriating.

  3. Adam Campbell Reply

    Statistics from the Phelim Phantasy Phactory. Perhaps his new title should be The Flight Director?

  4. Chaz. Reply

    Who are these secret statistic shakers the Greenies love to use?
    The same ones that said OSR use had increased but were found out later presumably.
    What do we call it when people fudge figures?

    What a pity Labour has lost the pair it found earlier over the OSR mess.

    Vote Labour you get the Greens, vote Greens you get Labour.

  5. brad Reply

    mental corruption by labour/green alliance: fake facts and fatal accidents-to-happen

  6. Kit Reply

    Billy, I’m a life-long cyclist (well, since the age of 3) and agree with all that you’ve posted. I hardly see a soul on the new cycle lane on the road. Most stick to the old lane. An anti-social and dangerous minority use it as a race track and fail to treat pedestrians with any respect.

    Sharing the prom would be even better, but we can see from Jamie Lloyd’s comments that it’s anti-car dogma, and it’s most certainly not about encouraging cycling in itself.

    It’s much less pleasant since the badly designed changes. My elderly neighbour, who used to walk to one of the seafront cafes, now has her daughter come and pick her up and they drive to Carats by Shoreham Harbour or Lancing beach or even Littlehampton. In each of those places, I’m told, it’s easier and cheaper to park.

    If I could still ride into Brighton, I wouldn’t use the new lane for all the reasons you state and more. Excessive wear in my knees means I’m no longer able to ride my bike without considerable pain. I wish I could. I’m not considered urgent for a knee op by the NHS and I can’t afford to go private, although even if I could, I’d rather not.

    I’ve got a little automatic car now as a runaround. As soon as I can afford it, I’ll get an electric. I hadn’t been at the wheel of a car for years until my knees gave out. I also hadn’t realised just how spitefully disablist and ageist this so-called Green council is.

    As an instinctive environmentalist, I won’t be voting for them at the next election, and sadly, Labour seem no better. It’s a shame the Lib Dems are so feeble locally, or they might have a chance if they could separate practical and effective policy from the current self-defeating political dogma.

    • Andy Richards Reply

      Simple daily observation demonstrates that any assertion that “you barely see a soul on the new lane”, and “everybody just uses the old one” are complete and total fantasy – more to do with anti-cyclist wishful thinking than any kind of reality.

      • Rob Reply

        We already have a cycle lane on the pavement. You don’t have to stop at the traffic lights when using it. The road based lane increases pollution by clogging traffic.

        • David Haskell Reply

          Pedestrians shouldn’t make way for cyclists when motorists have most of the space on the seafront.

        • Andy Richards Reply

          Too many cars is what clogs traffic – always has. What did you blame the congestion on before there was a cycle lane?

          Oh…I forgot…before there was a cycle lane , Kings Road/Kingsway was a superhighway that could get you from Palace Pier to Portslade in two minutes…….

          • Chaz.

            Well done for answering your own question Andy.
            Next you will ask and answer why there are cycle lanes and hardly any cyclists but traffic is clogged up.

    • A Bah Reply

      You are right, I just avoid town if at all possible, which is a shame for businesses I used to spend money with. Getting from the Marina to Hove is quicker on the bypass which is ridiculous as it uses a lot more fuel. The present council are not just against cars (why as they are going to be electric soon anyway) but against business as well. This is not a good thing for the city at all, they just stick to their ideology even if it’s making life worse for everyone, roll on the next election.

      • Andy Richards Reply

        Huh? Why on earth would you head for the bypass to get from the Marina to Hove?! I’ve heard it all now. Although at least no-ones mentioned “road tax” yet…….

        • Chaz. Reply

          Only you. Surprise that huh.
          bless.

  7. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    The Government has cut the active-travel grant by 25% as Labour and Conservatives destroyed the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane.

    • Hove Guy Reply

      Why do they keep referring to it as “the seafront cycle lane”, There are two cycle lanes running parallel to one another, while on the other side, as any motorist will tell you, there are still plenty of cyclists using the road (when not riding on the pavement). In their utter hatred of the motorist, they are alienating visitors as well as residents to what is now a very unwelcome and unfriendly place. Yet more shops are closing every day, while the council go out of their way to make life difficult for businesses.

      • David Haskell Reply

        Or its just easier to stay on that side of the road than crossing 4 lanes to get to the cycle lane and then crossing back? You don’t have to see everything through a prism of anger.

  8. Simon Philips Reply

    Of course the Greens have agreed to keep it!
    They decision had already been made!
    To decide otherwise would mean that they were as wrong about this as there are about many things!
    The Greens are just as intransigent and arrogant with power as all the other main Party’s!

  9. David Haskell Reply

    More evidence of the Conservative group’s anti-cycling attitude by abstaining on this vote.

    The numbers show a substantial increase in cycling use and therefore keeping and improving the lane is fully justified.

    Nearly 5000 in one day is amazing! Imagine the amount of additional pollution if those people chose cars instead.

  10. Maxim All Reply

    The problem is the new lane was slapped in there without much thought to how it integrates with the street, the path and the road. Did no one on the council think to phone Holland to talk about how they make cycle lanes? Over there they fully integrate all the forms of traffic – foot, road and cycle, so it all just works, there are fewer traffic accidents and all forms of traffic can move freely and unimpeded.
    Of course there are higher initial costs, but it can more than pay for itself when it works correctly and all traffic can move without getting in each others way.
    Over there they dont always get it right – but they recognize it and rectify the mistakes so everything works well.

  11. John Reply

    Councillor Nemeth is pro-cycling and pro-bike lane and supports bike-lanes except this one….and the last one….and the next one. They’re always in the wrong place.
    I think if you look back to when the bike-hire scheme was introduced the Tory Councillors were complaining about the loss of parking spaces and that the bike racks were in the wrong place

  12. Keith Reply

    So… two cycle lanes instead of one?

  13. Catherine Reply

    Great news. Bikes are so much better than polluting cars. Folk can get to the sea easier. Great for mindfulness. We need more cycle lanes let’s keep our city green

    • Hove Guy Reply

      Let’s keep our city moving.

    • Chaz. Reply

      Stop ordering from Amazon then. Use the city centre shops only.

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