Thankfully, the ludicrous proposal to to remove a cycle lane in Hove, at a cost of around one million pounds (background here), has narrowly been defeated at the annual budget meeting – by only one vote. As there are 13 Labour and 13 Green councillors, and 25 Tory councillors, mathematical logic tells me that every single Tory councillor voted for removal. Quite atrocious.
As Dave Warnock suggests, it would be nice to see a small fraction of this money that has now been saved put towards making minor safety improvements to the lane. Although figures suggest that cyclist casualties on the road in question have fallen by around 20% since the introduction of the lane (a statistic which meant nothing to leader of the council Mary Mears, who shamelessly tried to use ‘safety’ as a reason for removal), there are some quite simple measures that would make the cycle lane less hazardous.
How about painting some double yellow lines along the whole length of the lanes, rather than just across driveways (which, incidentally, speaks volumes about the priorities in place here)?
If proper parking enforcement were carried out, cyclists would no longer have to dangerously reenter the carriageway between parked cars, when their progress is blocked by thoughtlessly parked lorries like this one.
The other main safety problem seems to be at junctions, where cyclists are either ‘left hooked’ by motorists crossing their path into junctions, or are hit directly by motorists emerging from driveways. I suspect a large part of the problem is poor visibility, caused by dubiously-sited parking bays. Here’s an example, from Streetview –
The parking bays extend right up to the junction with driveways, which clearly makes it quite difficult for a left-turning vehicle to spot whether a cyclist is coming along the lane. The parking bays simply need to be shortened slightly, even just by one car length. This would be a significant improvement, and it’s not exactly as if – with four parallel lanes of parking on the road already – there’s a shortage of car parking space.
Both these measures will cost practically nothing, as they involve little more than paint. If Mary Mears and her fellow Tory councillors are so concerned with cyclists’ safety (concerned enough, let’s not forget, to propose spending a million pounds removing a facility they believed to be ‘unsafe’ for cyclists), it will be interesting to see whether they will support cheap, practical measures like these, now they are faced with the reality of the cycle lane staying in place.
I’m not holding my breath.