I read with interest your article about the dangers of anti-social cycling on National Cycle Route 2 at Lancing. I was disappointed, but not very surprised, to hear that these issues are still a problem several years after the cycleway was ‘completed’.
The issues sound remarkably like the dangers that people on bicycles, and pedestrians, have to deal with on our roads on a daily basis. ‘Near misses are an everyday event’ is something that everyone who has ridden a bicycle will agree with. The root of the problem is that our roads are so badly overcrowded, so everyone feels the need to fight for space. Dangerous roads force people choosing to ride bicycles onto the pavements, or, worse, into their cars.
The red and green zones are a perfect example of the complete lack of joined-up thinking in the county council’s highways department. Only a few hundred yards to the west, on the same cycleway, a red surface means ‘shared use’. It’s not surprising that people who have ridden their bicycles from Worthing think that red means ‘shared use’ here. too. The ‘cyclists dismount’ signs have no legal meaning, and are only advisory: it is not illegal to ride past them.
On a positive note, this cycleway now carries several hundred commuters on a daily basis, even in winter. So motorists on the A259 should be pleased there are several hundred fewer cars in the daily rush-hour traffic. With thousands of new houses planned, A259 motor traffic levels are destined to increase unless we invest in alternative modes of transport. Fiddling with converting T-junctions into mini-roundabouts will not cure the traffic jams.
The cycleway is also extremely popular with families: it’s one of the few places where children can ride their bikes in West Sussex. In summer, it’s not unusual to have well over a thousand bicycles counted at Brooklands Park. On average, over the whole year, some 600 bicycles are counted every day, and people come from miles around to cycle here.What is needed is a relatively small amount of investment to widen the cycleway and footpath to meet minimum standards, so there’s space for everyone to travel in comfort. This would reduce A259 traffic levels further, and boost the tourism economy at the same time. Sadly, the county council has absolutely no interest in investing in cycle infrastructure with its own funds, so this won’t happen for some years yet.
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