LETTER: Cyclists face danger on a regular basis

I’D like you to imagine for a moment that you are walking along the A286, Broyle Road, in the cycle lane at about 8.45am on a weekday.

There is heavy traffic, and as you walk past the old barracks there’s grit and stones underfoot from the building works.

As you pass Wellington Road, there are cars inching out towards you trying to join the traffic, and as you pass Oaklands Park towards the Northgate roundabout the traffic – cars, buses, lorries – comes to a standstill.

Many of the vehicles are over the white line ‘separating’ you from the main carriageway and encroaching on the already inadequate space in the cycle lane.

You either have to stop, or slow right down to squeeze past.

All the time you face the risk of a passenger in one of the vehicles deciding to beat the traffic and open the car door to get out and walk.

I’ve seen it happen, with terrible consequences – the cyclist had to be taken to hospital and received injuries resulting in dozens of stitches.

Scary? Unpleasant? Highly dangerous? Should be against the law!

This is exactly what it is like being a cyclist in Chichester and why I would like to campaign for more of our footpaths to become dual-use – shared by pedestrians and cyclists.

If all users knew they were sharing the space with other users, they would become more aware of each other and show care and consideration for each other.

We could easily exist together in harmony instead of cyclists having to break the byelaws and grumpy – usually older – pedestrians feeling it their duty to rant at cyclists trying to keep safe by staying off the road.

In my view, the money spent on electronic signs and new road markings around the Northgate roundabout was a complete waste – these measures do absolutely nothing to make cycling any safer and the money would be better spent on widening or marking paths for pedestrians and cyclists to share.

Cycling on the roads of Chichester is extremely dangerous and action needs to be taken to make it safer. There is too much traffic on the roads, insufficient city centre parking and an inadequate supply of public transport in Chichester District. Ignoring the dangers of cycling does nothing to ease congestion or to encourage more people to ‘get on their bikes’.

I look forward to your comments.

Louise Flude

The Drive