Having heard that the pop-up cycle lanes on the Old Shoreham Road have become a popular way for students to get to school and college independently, we went to see for ourselves last Thursday during the morning rush hour.
We saw people of all ages, from babies in safety seats, to pensioners on e-bikes. Many school students were enjoying the sociability of travelling in groups.
A handful of people will always brave their way along main roads on bikes, but most people in the UK will only cycle if protected from the traffic. This is particularly important for children. The school run accounts for a huge amount of traffic, and by making the roads safe for cycling, we can reduce pollution at the school gate and elsewhere. Cycling to school helps children gain independence, and removes the frustrating chore of braving the morning traffic.
The Old Shoreham Road is an essential link for staff and students of Goldstone Primary, BHASVIC, Cardinal Newman and others.
Tara Richards teaches at Goldstone Primary and gets to work every day using the pop-up lanes.
Clare Smith commutes from Hangleton to Moulsecomb on her recently-acquired e-bike and told us her journey would be impossible without the protection of the pop-up lanes.
With the planned eastern extension to the temporary lanes, more people than ever will be able to cycle to work or school.
The gradual increase in use of the temporary lanes endorses evidence from cities elsewhere in the UK and abroad: when protected space is provided for cycling, more people cycle. There’s more about this in the Government’s document, Gear Change.
In the longer term, we need a full network of permanent, protected cycle lanes and low-traffic streets, so that everyone, including children, can get around safely.
Although many politicians support making our streets safer, not all are on board. Write to your councillors and MP now and tell them how important it is for us to make the city safe for cycling. The more personal your message, the better.