We need to see more being done for cyclists in Eastbourne

From: Paul HumphreysChichester Close, Willingdon

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 4:35 pm
Eastbourne Bespoke cycling group on the promenade near the Southern Water Treatment Works, Langney. A cyclist can clearly be seen in the pedestrian lane. 25th September 2011 ENGSUS00120140301170049

There have been a few letters recently, in the paper about anti-social cycling.

Firstly the undeniable evidence, from the National Travel Survey, NHS statistics, insurance claims, police and DfT, is that the danger, whether on pavement or road to pedestrians, is from motor vehicles and not cycles.

You can assume, motor vehicles are involved in between 96 per cent and 99 per cent, of pedestrian incidents. This is just as true of Eastbourne using the ‘CrashMap’ data, which you can find online. It is apparent, from audited research, that at some psychological level, pedestrians seem to tolerate this, perhaps because they own or use a car themselves.

Much of the local cycling infrastructure is poor and relies on painted intermittent lines, that are only ‘advisory’, and vehicles often park and drive in these spaces.

It is not surprising that when I cycle along Kings Drive, most of the school students ride on the pavements. A combination of volume of traffic, the centre of the road ‘hatched out’ forcing cars over and parked cars, which will only get worse as congestion bites.

So we need real investment and a reallocation of the space available. A current petition, to East Sussex CC, from Bespoke and the other cycle pressure groups in the county, has asked for £5m , that was taken from walking and cycling, to be re-instated.

Additionally because of the new housing developments, there needs to be a safe and secure traffic-free network across the area. This means a shift of funds, in line with a carbon neutral Eastbourne for 2030. Even the draft local plan says that car use should be discouraged, in the town centre.

‘Business as usual’ is no longer an option. There needs to be a real commitment, and hard choices made, to re-balance traffic and road space in favour of active travel.

That would deliver a better deal for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.