‘Poorly thought out’ Chichester cycle lanes could stall progression of safer cycling in city

Letter from: John Newman, Maplehurst Road, Chichester

Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 9:30 am
'Traffic wants' along Oaklands Way and up to the Northgate gyratory

I am writing in sadness, as I fear that the present attempt to improve cycle routes in Chichester has been so poorly thought through as possibly to put back for years the much-needed promotion of more and safer cycling in Chichester.

There are good parts of the present experiment – the Avenue De Chartres, for instance. But to claim that a safe route between the station and Spitalfields Lane has been created is fallacious, and what has been done at roundabouts is not much use unless the cyclist is taking the first exit left.

All that has been achieved at these roundabouts is to annoy motorists. I suggest that the author of the scheme tries part of my regular route home – to cycle north up New Park Road and then seek to turn right at the roundabout into Spitalfields Lane. I suspect that s/he might well decide that it is safer not to use the cycle track there.

I believe in cycling and have regularly cycled into and within the city throughout my 40 years of living here.

If the planners really want to get cycling right, they need to think about priorities at roundabout exits – that has always been the curse of the Northgate Gyratory. The 20mph speed limit should be enforced. Ideally I would like to see our planners go to Holland and see how really to cater for bikes, not least at roundabouts.

A trip to Bruges would also be instructive concerning cycling in an historic city with narrow streets (and also for a proper bypass). I hope that next time our planners seek to make cycling safer and more accessible, they will actually talk to cyclists at an early stage.

It is inherent that more space for cyclists means less for motorists, and honesty requires this to be acknowledged. But a park-and-ride system for cars would surely solve a lot of motorists’ concerns, and truly safe cycling would engender significantly more cycling and be so good for people’s health and the local environment.