Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan – Public Consultation

The public consultation for the Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) is open from 30th October 2020 for a six-week period. This is East Sussex County Council’s (ESCC) proposed plan for the next 10 years.

https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/economy-transport-environment/escc-lcwip-2020/

Alongside the consultation, ESCC are also proposing to commission a feasibility study to identify the potential for providing fully segregated cycle routes and low traffic neighbourhoods. The scope of this study is currently being developed and they will share more information when it is available.

I have seen the original document and commented earlier this year. What may not be clear is that there is no allocated funding for any of the changes highlighted. If we want it to happen then it will need to be campaigned for.

If you have any comments you can complete the online survey. Have any questions… just let me know.

Exceat Replacement Bridge Project – an update

Following on from the consultation, the Exceat Replacement Bridge Project feedback has been posted on ESCC website. Over 1000 responses were received!

You can read the full feedback here:
https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/economy-transport-environment/exceat-replacement-bridge-project/

I’m quite disappointed to see that little attention has been paid to the comments / concerns we highlighted. There is also confirmation that the project doesn’t take into account the causeway, it is for the bridge only. As a small positive the road around the bridge will be slowed to 30mph from 60mph which will hopefully improve safety.

It does amuse me that the council feels that a controlled crossing will ‘spoil the natural landscape’…  personally I can’t see the logic.

The planning application should be submitted in April next year. At this point we will have another opportunity to comment.

Have a read and let me know what you think!

Why the Highway Code should protect riding two abreast

If you’ve not heard yet The Highway Code is under review. The proposal is to amend The Highway Code to introduce a hierarchy of road users, clarify pedestrian and cyclist priority, establish safer overtaking.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-the-highway-code-to-improve-road-safety-for-cyclists-pedestrians-and-horse-riders

Just imagine that… it would change our roads for cyclists and pedestrians. In my opinion this is way overdue. Over the past 30 years we have gone from 20 million to approaching 40 million cars. Our towns and cities haven’t got any bigger… just fuller. The whole road system is creaking.

Many people believe that roads are paid for by “Road Tax” but that isn’t true. Drivers pay Vehicle Excise Duty based on how polluting your car is. Roads are funded from general taxation. That means you have to pay for them whether you own a car or not. As such readdressing the balance in support of cyclists and pedestrians seems only fair.

Cycling UK have also highlighted rule 66 about riding 2 abreast:

However, one newly proposed rule – the new wording for Rule 66 – didn’t sit quite so easily with some people, particularly in respect of whether, and in what circumstances, cyclists can or should ride two abreast.

The current rule reads: “You should…never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends”. 

There are a number of issues with this wording – most notably that corners of country lanes and narrow roads are some of the most dangerous places for a driver to overtake a cyclist – but moving to single file at exactly this point may encourage them to do just that.

We were therefore initially happy with the proposed new wording, that: 

“[cyclists’ should] ride in single file when drivers wish to overtake and it is safe to let them do so. When riding in larger groups on narrow lanes, it is sometimes safer to ride two abreast”. 

Read the full article here:
https://www.cyclinguk.org/blog/why-highway-code-should-protect-riding-two-abreast

 

I’ve already responded online and I urge you to do the same.

Click here to respond online

Alternatively you can complete a response form and email to HighwayCodeReview2020@dft.gov.uk

Consultation end on 11:59pm on 27 October 2020… so don’t delay.

Why the Dutch cycle…

People often comment on the Dutch and their obsession with the bicycle. Why do they cycle? The fact is they haven’t always.

“Before World War II, journeys in the Netherlands were predominantly made by bike, but in the 1950s and 1960s, as car ownership rocketed, this changed. As in many countries in Europe, roads became increasingly congested and cyclists were squeezed to the kerb.

The jump in car numbers caused a huge rise in the number of deaths on the roads. In 1971 more than 3,000 people were killed by motor vehicles, 450 of them children.

In response a social movement demanding safer cycling conditions for children was formed. Called Stop de Kindermoord (Stop the Child Murder), it took its name from the headline of an article written by journalist Vic Langenhoff whose own child had been killed in a road accident.”

Read the full article here

There was lots of resistance to change – but look at it now! Infrastructure was the key. Would you be happy to let your child,  grandchild, niece or nephew cycle alone? If the answer is yes – then it’s a good place to cycle.

Currently in the UK 60% of motor vehicle journeys are 1-2 miles. If we could replace many of those journeys with cycling just think how much easier it would be for commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles and those who need their car to get around.

My son is 12… we were recently looking at photos of me at the same age. One really obvious thing we noticed was how empty the streets were. Photos of me and friends on our bikes and skateboards. Playing Kerby. There were about 20 million cars – now there are 38.3 million. It’s happened slowly… slowly enough that no one noticed. Like my hairline – but in reverse. 

Unfortunately during my time campaigning I have encountered a lack of conviction from East Sussex County Council who seem intent on keeping the status-quo. It is becoming increasingly obvious that climate change and biodiversity loss are changing the status-quo for us. A point made shockingly clear when watching David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet yesterday.

What can we do?

It’s important to let your local politicians know what you think. They, after all, are there to represent our views.

  • Would you support a local car-free day in the high street?
  • Would you support restrictions on parking to make space for cycling?
  • How about 20mph in residential streets?
  • Closing of roads around schools at the start and end of the school day?

All these initiatives are currently being supported by some local councillors / candidates.

Secondly we can lead by example. As a family we only use the car when we have to. If we can walk or cycle we do. That’s not just out of sheer bloody mindedness… I honestly prefer it. Driving is just so stressful and cycling turns a chore into fun with a bit of exercise thrown in. Trip to the post office via the seafront, bit of fresh air, leave the bike outside (no hassle with parking). Makes perfect sense.

Have a watch of the video below and see what you think. Would you be happier to cycle if it was like that? I know I certainly would.

Video courtesy of BicycleDutch on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC67YlPrRvsO117gFDM7UePg

East Sussex Country Council turns down Covid-19 schemes in Seaford and Newhaven

In a meeting on Monday 17th August it was decided to not proceed with the plans that East Sussex County Council submitted to the Depart of Transport for funding in both Seaford and Newhaven.

Unfortunately after we provided three sets of proposed improvements none were included in any of the emergency measures. Therefore there will be no emergency measures to support walking and cycling in the Lewes District Council area from the first Tranche of funding.

You will find the meeting agenda here with officer recommendations:
https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/documents/g4751/Public%20reports%20pack%2017th-Aug-2020%2010.00%20Lead%20Member%20for%20Transport%20and%20Environment.pdf?T=10

You will find our initial suggestions here:
https://cycleseahaven.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/cycleseahaven-temporary-measures.pdf

As you can imagine this is very disappointing to everyone involved and frankly quite surprising. The Secretary of State for Transport Grant Schapps and the Department for Transport were both asking for councils to do whatever they can to make it safer to walk and cycle.

I’m still hoping that we will get the additional cycle parking – although at this point I can’t get any information!

Cycle Seahaven member Councillor Carolyn Lambert commented:

“Some parts of Lewes, including Seaford, will receive no benefit from this funding.  If the money is not spent, then the government will claw it back which would be a huge missed opportunity.  Cycle Seahaven, one of the biggest cycling groups in the county, has put forward some perfectly achievable proposals, including some for simple signage, which seem to have been discounted.  I hope that the County Council will re-consider its approach and listen to local residents”.

Exceat Bridge Consultation

East Sussex County Council are currently developing a plan to replace the existing bridge at Exceat with a new two-lane two-way bridge. I will be putting together a considered response from Cycle Seahaven, so if you have any comments you can send them my way (campaigns@cycleseahaven.org.uk). Alternatively there is a survey at the link below if you wish to respond directly.

I know what I think already – but it would be good to hear a range of opinions from users of the current bridge.

“We write to advise you of the Public Engagement Exercise for the Exceat Bridge Replacement project.  The Planning Authority (South Downs National Park) recommend that this event takes place now and the responses will be used to inform the ongoing design.  The planning application will be submitted in early 2021 and we anticipate a decision from the South Downs National Park Authority in summer 2021.

The engagement starts on 13th July, and will run until 7th August; due to the current climate, it will be conducted online only.  Posters are positioned around the Exceat Bridge and Seven Sisters Country Park Visitor’s Centre signposting people to details of the engagement, which can be found here: ”
https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/economy-transport-environment/exceat-replacement-bridge-project/

 



Update 14/08/2020

Thanks to everyone who commented. Comments have been collated and sent to East Sussex Highways. Hopefully I’ve captured them all.

You will see that the general feeling is that cycling has been ignored in the designs and should taken into account before the full consultation next year.

Download the comments document here

Safer Highway Code for cycling and walking

Cycling UK have been closely involved in pre-consultation on proposed changes to the Highway Code that would make cycling and walking safer.

The proposals include:

  • The introduction of the ‘Hierarchy of Users’ or ‘Hierarchy of Responsibility’, recognising that road users who pose greater risks to others ought to have a higher level of responsibility.
  • Simplification of the rules relating to non-signalised junctions, which will make junctions safer and address ‘left-hook’ collision
  • New rules to tackle dangerous overtaking and ‘close passes’, with a guideline minimum safe passing distance of 1.5m
  • The inclusion of the Dutch Reach, to help prevent ‘car-dooring’

These are just some of more than 50 changes, and we’ve highlighted 10 key changes which we need you to support to help make our roads safer. If adopted, these new rules could help address many of the everyday problems all cyclists face on the roads, and would help educate all drivers, feeding into driving lessons and tests, and help the police better enforce driving which puts people cycling and walking at risk.

Much more information on the Cycling UK website: https://www.cyclinguk.org/safer-highway-code-cyclists

Click here to support the campaign

Sustrans National Cycle Network update

Sustrans are updating the National Cycle Network to make it more accessible and provide a consistent user experience.

Rather than a single classification they have two:

  • Traffic-free route on the National Cycle Network
  • On-road route on the National Cycle Network

The traffic free routes are perfect for families and those new to cycling (orange on map), the on road routes are for tourers and those more experienced (blue on map). The idea is to try and increase the orange routes and give people the confidence to ride “creating paths for everyone”.

Additionally, about 4.5% of the Network, which comprises of 753 miles of busy on-road sections, have now been taken off the map, with no signage assigned, as they fall too far short of the quality standards Sustrans aspires to.

The changes are part of a long-term UK-wide plan for the National Cycle Network to double the miles of traffic-free routes from 5,000 to 10,000 and make the Network better and accessible for everyone.

Sustrans only owns around 500 miles, or 4%, of the Network. The rest belongs to various landowners, who are ultimately responsible for their own stretch. 

See the map here: https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/ncn

Xavier Brice, CEO for Sustrans said:

“The National Cycle Network is a vital part of the UK’s green infrastructure, connecting people to places and to one another, providing family-friendly spaces and boosting local economies. The move to differentiate paths and routes will help us offer more targeted and relevant information on the paths for everyone choosing to walk, cycle and wheel.

“It’s also an opportunity to promote routes as leisure cycling destinations in their own right and build the UK’s cycle touring offer to both domestic and international audiences. In times of public health crisis and climate crisis, travelling actively has never been more important. Together, we can move towards our 2040 vision of paths for everyone.”

Studies have shown trips on the National Cycle Network generate around £88 million for the UK economy through reduced road congestion and contribute £2.5 billion to local economies through leisure and tourism each year. Another good reason for more safe paths!

Confirmation of Emergency Active Travel Fund

This morning I attended latest Lewes District Council Cycling Forum.

I was pleased to hear that East Sussex County Council was awarded all the tranche 1 Emergency Active Travel Funding applied for from the Department for Transport.

This means that we will receive several 10 bike cycle racks in the Seaford, Newhaven, Peacehaven area.

Planning is also underway to improve the shared path at the A259 near Bishopstone and provide an improved cycle path between Newhaven and Peacehaven.

There is a short timeframe to get this work completed (part of the funding requirements of the DfT). We should see things happening by the end of the summer.

This is emergency funding to make cycling and walking easier during the pandemic. I hope that once the benefits are established these changes can become permanent.

We will be working with other local groups to campaign for further improvements with the second larger fund. Funding will be limited – but it will be a good opportunity to push forward some changes.

If anyone has any specific suggestions they would like me to investigate please let me know.