OPINION

Bike Week offers chance to focus on the people-powered way ahead

Posted On 12 Jun 2022 at 12:10 am

International Bike Week ends today (Sunday 12 June), providing a chance to draw attention to the benefits of using cycles – a simple, affordable, clean and environmentally friendly means of transportation.

As Greens, we are unapologetic in our support for encouraging safe and sustainable cycle use in Brighton and Hove.

Although the week celebrates bicycles – it is important to stress that there are many types of cycle. They don’t just come on two wheels. Hand cycles and tricycles, for example, can make cycling easier and more accessible for everyone.

That comes with the need to introduce “infrastructure” to make it safer too, which is why government guidance says that any new cycle lanes should be at least two metres wide.

Spacewords Brighton

Why cycle? Cycling offers an enjoyable, sustainable, free and accessible option for people to travel. Transport produced 27 per cent of the UK’s total emissions in 2019, so encouraging people to use a sustainable and green transport system is essential if we are to hit our climate targets.

Research placed North Street as the third worst for air pollution in the country. When evidence already tells us air pollution knocks almost three years off average life expectancy, this must be a call to action.

It’s for this reason that we are taking bold steps to encourage greater uses of cycles in this city, alongside initiatives like our updated air quality action plan (which is currently out for consultation).

Let’s not forget how cycling can improve health too: reducing the chance of heart disease, cancer, stress related illness and improved mobility and strength.

And there’s more to come in Brighton and Hove. Cycling is an enjoyable environmentally friendly way to travel and see our city.

We will continue to promote the use of cycles and are determined to make cycling more accessible through better infrastructure, secure cycle hangers and electric cycles.

In the last month, the council received news that we will be given have further funding to build a new cycle lane along Marine Parade.

This is a key route linking eastern areas of Brighton and Hove with the city centre and which will join up to the fantastic phase 3 of the Valley Gardens project, on which construction will start in the coming months.

In the same week, we also received news that we’ve been funded for a study into the feasibility of a Mini-Holland in the Wish and Westbourne areas of the city.

This could link up to railway stations (Aldrington and Portslade), bus routes, the seafront and employment areas including Shoreham Harbour.

This isn’t everything. In the next year, the very popular BTN Bike Share will be increasing its current fleet of bikes from 600 to 780, of which at least 60 per cent will be electric. The first cycle hangars will also be hitting the streets in the coming weeks.

We are also enabling businesses to play their part in reducing emissions and have supported SMEs in our city to invest in e-cargo deliveries, resulting in over seven metric tonnes of CO2 being saved as a result of a 20,000 miles being cycled rather than driven.

There is still so much more that can be done. We will always be critical where the Tory government fails to act.

There is simply no room for a £27 billion road building programme in a climate emergency. It is inexcusable that this Conservative government wants to pave the way for more cars on the road, with more climate emissions, more congestion and more pollution, making life worse for communities across the country and hear in Brighton and Hove.

We will also continue to advocate for greater infrastructure for bikes, handcycles, tricycles and anything with wheels. Through the actions we have already achieved and the plans that we have in place we are enabling even more of Brighton’s residents and visitors to cycle.

Come rain or shine, and it looks like a lot of rain, I will be out celebrating bike week and I hope to see you out there too.

Steve Davis is a Green councillor and the joint chair of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee.

  1. Jon Reply

    Having a car-free day once a month as they do in Paris would be a step forward IMO. It would help give people confidence to start cycling. We have car-free days for the Marathon and other events so logistically it’s possible

    • Peter Challis Reply

      I thought that Steve’s joint chair of the ETS committee, Green Councillor Amy Heley wanted to make the city car-free city by 2023 – perhaps she realises this is not practical?

      If the Greens are really worried about the environment, they also want to ban buses and taxis and council vehicles and commercial vehicles and motorbikes and cycle lanes that hardly any people use but just cause congestion and delays that just increase emissions – how much of the problem is from private motorists?

      P.S. Went to fill-up with petrol at Sainsbury’s West Hove yesterday – saw one of Green Councillor Tom Druitt’s Big Lemon community buses filling up with diesel!

      I thought he had gotten supporters to buy him 18 battery buses for this purpose, and he used to use recycled cooking oil instead of diesel. Perhaps his battery buses don’t work as well as he claims!

      • mart Burt Reply

        Peter Challis
        Interesting comments.
        So you want the council to ban Buses, Taxis council and commercial vehicles ?
        So no-body can get into town then, not that there’s anything to buy because there’s been no deliveries. Our rubbish will build up because there’s no council vehicle collecting it, not that we’ve got rubbish because the shops are empty of course.
        But I jumped in my car and drove to Worthing, Eastbourne or even Crawley to do my shopping.

        Hmm, a bus can carry 70 passengers, a car how many, even if twenty people travel on a bus into town that’s less cars on our roads.
        Take away a bus service then see how many use their cars.

        Not an intelligent comment is it.
        Have another go.

      • Car Delenda Est Reply

        Nobody’s falling for that one Peter..

  2. Colin Bell Reply

    It’s all very worthy to promote sustainable travel withe the city, however, the Greens seem completely incapable of adopting a pragmatic view on Transport that is best for the city as a whole – residents, businesses and visitors. In that way they are naive and dangerous to the wellbeing and economy of the city. The Greens just want to impose their dogma on everyone, regardless of whether is good for all in Brighton.

  3. Flying Squirrel Reply

    If you look for Councillor Steve Davis on the council website, under ‘Register of interests’ it says ‘Driving instructor. Driving school owner.’ It actually does. Good luck squaring that circle Stevie. Maybe give Boris a ring and ask him how his ‘do as I say’ style of politics is going down? Meanwhile, I look forward to upcoming articles : Vladimir Putin on Safer Streets and Joseph Mengele on childcare services.

  4. dreadnought Reply

    Is this guy serious? Does he live in somewhere like Narnia? Great to have such an idealist view of running a city, but the Greens really need to get in touch with reality.

  5. Phoebe Barrera Reply

    Good to see Steve Davis “on the ball” as ever announcing International Cycle Week AFTER it has finished.

    Also gave him the chance to regurgitate all the usual qualitative pro-cycling anti-motorist propaganda with no data to say whether it applies to the city.

    And love his claim that eCargo bikes saved 7 tonnes of CO2 – that’s about the same as the average produced by 1 resident each year. What do we need to achieve #netzero by 2030 as the Greens promised?

    And how much in total has cycling in the city reduced (or increased!) net carbon emissions when you add in increased emissions from increased congestion and motorists driving longer routes to avoid delays?

    • Frank le Duc Reply

      Hi, your “on the ball” criticism of Steve Davis is unfair. He wrote the article earlier in the week but I was away when it arrived so I posted it yesterday and edited it to reflect that.

      • Phoebe Barrera Reply

        Thanks Frank – hope you had a good holiday – not sure the delay will have had much impact on the number cycling – except that it appears that the Naked Cycle Ride had quite a poor turnout.

  6. Paul Temple Reply

    Whilst everything should be done to promote cycling claiming North Street is the third most polluted in the country does not help the cause because a) This is a route mainly used by buses and b) council officers in their wisdom widened the pavements and narrowed the road so buses get stuck behind one another at bus stops.

    • Jamie Reply

      You’re not asking bhcc officers to have responsibility and accountability ! My God – what is the world coming to!

    • Car Delenda Est Reply

      Probably better to point out that the OSR is one of the most polluted. Apparently the air pollution wasn’t caused by bicycles but by heavy traffic, how strange.

  7. Tom H Reply

    I’m all in favour of supporting cycling in the city but it’s not the catch all solution for all commuters/traveller and we should find a balance. Change is happening pretty quickly as is, we are seeing significant uptake in Electric cars, trying to force change away from ICE cars more rapidly than realistically possible comes at the cost of significantly higher short term road usage costs. You might say you don’t care if you don’t own a car but these costs also impact the delivery driver who brings anything you consume to the local shop or to your door.

    Secondly cycling is not the solution for everyone… how do families with young children, tradesman with tools, disabled and elderly people get about? What about tourist arrivals into the city with their suitcases? What if it’s terrible wet weather or snow?

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