Brighton slammed by resident for state of cycling in city

A resident has said that the city’s cycling infrastructure is “inefficient, dangerous and counter-intuitive”.

James Walsh, 43, lives in the Round Hill area of ​​Brighton and said that, while he is an experienced cyclist, the journeys he does while cycling around the city would not encourage others to jump on their bike to get around.

He said: “Where I live, I’m completely surrounded by a 1960s-style gyratory, it’s a one-way street on one side and I’ve got Ditchling Road coming down on another side, and then another three-lane highway on another.

“I’m an experienced cyclist, but that isn’t going to encourage others who want to cycle. My housemate would like to cycle but she’s too scared.”

He also said some of the city’s cycle lanes do little to break the idea that cyclists are “second-class citizens” on roads.

The Argus: Cyclists feel like 'second-class citizens' on some roads in the city, James Walsh claimedCyclists feel like ‘second-class citizens’ on some roads in the city, James Walsh claimed

“From Round Hill down to the seafront, it is basically a motorway. There is a cycle lane that goes down that way, but it stops at every junction, so it reinforces this idea that you are a second-class citizen.

“As a result, most cyclists will go into the road, which then annoys drivers who ask why aren’t they using this infrastructure that we’ve spent our tax money on. The answer is it’s inefficient and quite dangerous.

“People are shocked by how piecemeal and counter-intuitive the cycling infrastructure is for a city with a Green-led council.”

James also said that there is a “massive dearth of cycle parking” in Brighton, particularly in the city centre.

He explained that most cyclists have to use railings or lampposts to park their bikes, which leaves them at risk of being stolen or becoming rusty over prolonged periods due to bad weather.

The Argus: Cyclists often park their bikes on lampposts, railings or other objects in the city center due to a lack of safe parking places, James Walsh claimedCyclists often park their bikes on lampposts, railings or other objects in the city center due to a lack of safe parking places, James Walsh claimed (Image: James Walsh)

He also called for the council to roll out more cycle hangars for residents, which saw thousands of people request one in their local area.

“The demand is there for that – whenever they put in any kind of consultation, people want one. I would happily take one, I would happily take the one that that furious lady was complaining about and put it in my estate for me and my neighbours,” James said.

James, who moved to Brighton six months ago, said he had been shocked and surprised by how poor parking and infrastructure is for cyclists and that Brighton could lead the way for active travel if the political will was there.

He said: “This could easily be a world-leading city but instead it is cities like Leicester and Cambridge that are putting places like Brighton to shame.

“There is an air pollution emergency and if we are going to take that seriously we need to have better cycling.

The Argus: James Walsh said that Brighton could lead the way for cycling if the council did more to address issues with its infrastructureJames Walsh said that Brighton could lead the way for cycling if the council did more to address issues with its infrastructure (Image: James Walsh)

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “We are committed to making active travel an attractive option for short journeys, or as part of a longer journey.

“We are installing cycle hangars across the city to help residents park their bikes securely near their homes. Several of these are in the Round Hill area.

“This follows an incredibly successful survey carried out last year, with nearly 2,000 people requesting a hangar on their street.

“The aim is to install 150 of these around the city, offering safe storage for 900 bicycles.

“As part of our Valley Gardens improvement scheme in the city centre, we introduced 56 additional cycle parking stands, providing parking for 112 cycles in the area.

“We are installing a further 50 cycle parking stands to accommodate 100 more cycles.

“Councillors have recently approved an extension to the A259 cycle lane into Hove as well as along Marine Parade.

“We have also recently approved an ambitious local walking and cycling infrastructure plan to improve our walking and cycling network.

“The cycle lanes in our city are all designed according to national safety standards. We do not accept that this reinforces the idea that cyclists are second-class citizens.

“Information aimed specifically at encouraging more women and girls to start cycling is on our website.

“Please visit brighton-hove.gov.uk/parking-and-travel/cycling for further information about cycling on Brighton and Hove.”

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