Concern is growing over new cycle routes across Eastbourne which campaigners say are bewildering and confusing for cyclists and motorists – and won’t encourage people to switch from vehicles to bikes.
The group is referring to new lanes at the War Memorial roundabout and others on the seafront and calls for more joined-up thinking between cyclists, pedestrians, motorists, disability groups, retailers, residents, transport professionals and the authorities.
In a letter signed by various organisations, the campaigners say, “We’re extremely disappointed by East Sussex County Council’s attempt to create safe cycle routes across Eastbourne.
“What we’re left with is a patchwork of white lines and signposts, many of which instruct cyclists to ‘dismount’. Meanwhile motorists are left utterly bewildered.
“These new routes, like the Meads to Wish Tower route before them, won’t encourage people to switch from vehicles to bikes. They’re a missed opportunity.
“This isn’t all our county council’s fault. These latest routes were paid for from the central government Local Sustainable Transport Fund, a poorly thought out ‘use or lose it’ scheme that appears to favour quick fixes over long term collaborative approaches.
“We need one forum, meetings should be public, evidence shared, discussions and ideas published.
“The group would have three aims: to make spaces people want to be in; to create cycle routes that are so convenient citizens prefer to use them over driving and to create clear road markings and routes as direct as possible so those who need to drive can do so, safely and effectively.
“We need to try small scale temporary experiments before spending large sums on something we’re not sure about. Above all, we shouldn’t accept second best.”
The letter also calls on all borough and parliamentary candidates standing in the May elections to reject what the group calls makeshift solutions and asks council officers to work hand in hand with group members for the long term.
“We need to get this right even if it takes a little longer to get there,” says the letter, signed by traders, councillors, members of cycling pressure group members and the Chamber of Commerce.