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It’s Bike Week – your challenge – to safely cycle anywhere!

June 22, 2010

Oh goody. Bike Week is here again. That one week in the year when Brighton & Hove council pretend to give a toss about cycling and cyclists by doling out a few free croissants at Bike Breakfasts.

I had an op on my spine in December and so for around 8 months I wasn’t able to ride my bike. When I was able to get back in the saddle again, about 6 weeks ago, I was absolutely euphoric. A joy that was, of course, short-lived thanks to the frustrations of cycling around Brighton and Hove.

It beggars belief that we’re a national exemplar cycling town, I absolutely ache to make the counsellors who OK’d the design of the majority of our cycle lanes to hop on a bike and go for a ride, perhaps at the weekend. Say down the seafront?

If you’re lucky, this is one of the most lovely rides you can take in town, whizzing along the seafront, from the Marina to Hove. Of course, thanks to the ‘cycle lane’ being essentially a line drawn on the pavement, this means that at busy times it’s permanantly blocked with pedestrians. At the weekend, the cycle lane on the seafront rings with warning bike bells and the screams of abuse from pedestrians and frustrated cyclists alike.

Then you have the baffling lanes which don’t seem to go anywhere. Along the Old Steine, going towards Pavilion Parade, there is a small section of marked path which seems to suggest that you cycle on to the pavement. You do so. There is no cycle lane there. Now what? The splendid weird cycle lanes website covers this brilliantly and in far more depth than I ever could.

It’s not like there aren’t great cycle lanes already here in Brighton and Hove. In Grand Avenue, Hove there is, what has to be the Gold Standard for lanes. It’s brilliant. It’s on the road, but separated by a slightly built-up parts each side. When you cycle here, it’s a fabulous experience with no chance of encountering anything but other bikes. Bliss.

Oh – and yes, Brighton and Hove council are, I suppose, trying to encourage cycling but it all seems to be done in such a hopelessly cack-handed way. There’s not even enough places to safely chain bikes in town – which is why every lamp post in the North Laine is garlanded with cycles. All this makes me wonder, would the croissant budget be better spent on a few more bike racks?

And I’m still not sure I don’t believe the rumour that the entire Brighton and Hove bike network was designed by a jaded cab driver with a penchant for squashing cyclists… what other explanation can there be?

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From → Rants

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