18 June 2013

Hove cycle lane - people feel safer and experts praise it

A ‘Copenhagen-style’ cycle lane in Old Shoreham Road, Hove, has been praised by cycling bodies and experts.

Cyclists have said it makes them feel safer and more are using it.

Plaudits for the scheme, which opened in 2011, have come from the national sustainable transport charity SUSTRANS along with the Cycle Touring Club – one of the UK’s main cycling pressure groups.

The comments are now being included in a city council bid for a national award for the route.  

SUSTRANS said:  “This is a bold and innovative scheme that aims to bring something of the level of provision that is commonplace in Denmark and the Netherlands.”

The CTC said such lanes, which separate bikes from traffic, were “about the best that can be done under current highway design regulations.”

Local campaign group Bricycles said: “The facilities are good for the less confident cyclist.”  They praised measures such as traffic lights at the Upper Drive which give cyclists a head start on cars.

The supportive comments are included in the council’s bid for a prize for achievements in cycling, at the National Transport Awards, in October.

The 1.8km route, thought to be the longest of its kind in the UK, runs from Dyke Road to the Upper Drive. The council provided two thirds of the £940k cost, the remainder coming from SUSTRANS.  It features a generous cycle track on each side of the road, between 1.5m-2m wide, separated from the road by a kerb.

Monitoring has shown a 30 per cent increase in cycle journeys along the route, with a roughly threefold increase in the proportion of cyclists who regard the route as safe – now around 80 per cent.  

Vehicle speeds have slowed significantly says the council, largely due to the road’s width being reduced.  Officials say this deters overtaking which previously saw cars often travelling at 45mph in the 30mph stretch.

In the meantime a safety audit commissioned by the council is making suggestions for a number of minor tweaks.  These range from altering signage or surface textures, to trimming a tree to improve light on a zebra crossing.

City council executive director Geoff Raw said:  “It’s good to hear more people regard this route as safe, there’s less speeding and as a result more cycling.  

“We need to make one or two tweaks but generally people like it and are using it in increasing numbers.  Hopefully we can extend it in future, making it even more useful and popular.”

The Hove cycle lane is modelled on those often seen in northern Europe, including Copenhagen in Denmark.