Lewes Forum thread

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Cycling by the prison crossroads and A277

On 4 Jun 2015 at 3:54pm Spokeydokey wrote:
In my opinion, the A277 (Brighton Road) and the prison crossroads are the most dangerous places to be on a bike in Lewes and surrounding areas. Some people cycle on the pavement (which is not really fair on pedestrians). Others cycle up the inside of vehicles (which is very risky). Some cycle up the outside of vehicles (which is also risky). Also no space for bikes at the lights. Unlike town centre, it seems like there is enough space to do something about it before something terrible happens. What are the chances of change? What is the solution? Cycle lane? Shared lane for pedestrians and cyclists? Just make the road marginally wider? Any thoughts?
On 4 Jun 2015 at 4:04pm lewes resident wrote:
maybe the cyclists could walk instead? also cycling on a pavement can incur a 500 pounds fine ,
On 4 Jun 2015 at 5:06pm Old Bloke wrote:
Get a car
On 4 Jun 2015 at 5:10pm Middle of the road wrote:
@Spokeydokey Personally, I ride in the middle of my lane, but I agree that it can be a hairy experience, and people do all sorts of things when they feel endangered. I would like to think improving cycle lanes and cycling provision generally would be a priority, but it seldom seems to be.

@lewes resident - Well, perhaps the drivers could walk instead? Or catch the train? Or a bus? If I had the power to levy on the spot fines on drivers every time I caught one talking on a mobile phone (not even hands-free) while driving, I wouldn't need to work every day - just cycle around for an hour! And mobile phones are the least of it. Eating a sandwich, painting their nails, getting something out of their eye in the mirror, reading a book - all while in motion - it's a miracle anyone gets where they're going without driving off the road into a field.
On 4 Jun 2015 at 5:23pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Cyclists can go round the bypass if they find the prison crossroads so scarey.
And I'm at a loss to see where the Brighton road could realistically be widened, at least at the crossroads end.
On 4 Jun 2015 at 7:38pm Convenient wrote:
I agree those traffic lights are a nuisance , they need re prioritising to allow better traffic flow . I have to queue there every morning for way too long risking damage to my car from idiot cyclists trying to squeeze up the inside undertaking me . For gods sake dismount and push your bike on the pavement just that little distance . Swallow your indignant "look at me being all healthy and ecological " attitude and consider all other road users . Oh and by the way when the lights at the bottleneck are on red that means YOU have to stop as well .
On 4 Jun 2015 at 8:19pm Plumber wrote:
I drive a van and generally try to allow cyclists room to pass, but sometimes it is not possible. There is no point putting a cyclists waiting area at the front of the queue; as the risk of getting there is more dangerous than waiting.
I don't have a problem with cyclists using pavements if they don't endanger pedestrians. In most cases, outside city centres it should be permitted - with fines & points issued if they do something dangerous (most cyclists DO have drivers licenses and pay car insurance).
oh, and "Middle of the road"; I think you are right to travel in the middle of the road. The number of IDOTs that come at me on the C7 trying to "squeeze past" a cyclist thinking they will only be "a bit in the oncoming lane". However, you ruined your post with a self-riotous rant.
We see dangerous cyclists as well as drivers, the fact that you see these examples more in cars is simply because there are more cars.
On 4 Jun 2015 at 10:07pm Lawrence wrote:
The fine is 30 for cycling on the pavement, I'm quite happy to risk that rather than risk cycling along by the prison!
On 4 Jun 2015 at 10:53pm Taff wrote:
Cyclists are their own worst enemy. I really do not understand the mind set where they are prepared to take on vehicles! Dead is still dead even after any kind of liability payout. Isn't it?
On 4 Jun 2015 at 11:06pm Rookie wrote:
Today a cyclist whizzed past me while I was waiting at a red light at Fiveways in Brighton. I winced and watched as he was inches away from being wiped out by a car coming up Hollingdean Road. He didn't even look around. Nutter.
On 5 Jun 2015 at 12:57am Middle of the road wrote:
@ Plumber It wasn't meant as a dig at drivers (which I am also one of) so much as a corrective to the commonly expressed "driver good; cyclist bad" meme. I'm often thoroughly appalled by the behaviour of many cyclists too. However, our road systems aren't designed for cars and bikes (which are basically incompatible in many ways) to share, and in a narrow-streeted, often congested town centre like Lewes this is a circle that is particularly hard to square. The net result can be pent-up anger on all sides. I find driving on the roads to be much more aggressive and dangerous than it was 30 years ago - and I say that as a driver all that time - but that change can be put down to many things, and cyclists are among the least of them. And, agreed, the C7 is often a mad, bad experience, no matter what form of transport you're taking.

@ Convenient I 100% agree - I've seen that done too and it's particularly stupid given there's also often traffic coming out of Westgate Street. Why is everyone (drivers too) so impatient? For what it's worth, though, I think you'll find most regular cyclists, if you talk to them, are not at all interested in feeling superior to drivers (which, as others have pointed out, they mostly also are). They cycle because they get something out of it - exercise, money saved, the pleasure of passing through the world around them, carbon not emitted... If I take the car for a journey I usually cycle, it feels like leaving the house with a heavy suitcase. And for regular cyclists, all this outweighs the not-inconsiderable downsides: a daily dice with death or injury, being the butt of an astonishing amount of road rage and a needing to wash a bit more. There must be something in it!

And, as far as the Prison crossroads goes, I personally always wait in line, though I will occasionally hop round a car to escape a particularly noxious exhaust. I'm mindful, though, that this may not be the most considerate way to behave, as cars will move off quicker without me occupying a road space, and thus more will get through the lights in one phase. Usually everything is so jammed up there that it doesn't matter too much. There's no right answer though, except perhaps for there to be fewer people on the roads altogether...
On 5 Jun 2015 at 6:59am Paul Newman wrote:
I cycle up that road every morning to the station and my beef is that there have been giant holes in the road for months now . Its lethal, if you go over them you break your wheels ( which I have done ) if you swerve you risk breaking your neck.
No doubt many people would like my neck in two pieces but thus far I have survived intact . My bike cost 100 odd to get fixed a bill I should send to the council.
On the cars v bikes issue my view is that Lewes cyclists are pretty good and in any case they only endanger themselves. The level of driving skill on the other hand is peculiarly woeful and the selfish attitude to parking quite frightening on occasion.
Agree with Middle of the Road , I have been cycling for years and I still just love the way it feels, I had a motorbike for a while but that did nothing for me . I think its that inescapable fact that cyclists are sexier than drivers ( unless they are drivers that cycle ..like me )
On 5 Jun 2015 at 7:35am lewes resident wrote:
cyclists seem to think they are a law unto themselves, numerous times they ride the wrong way down station street, landsdowne place etc. if they obeyed the rules of the highway like everyone else , the same goes for jaywalkers, the roads might be safer all round.
On 5 Jun 2015 at 8:20am Humbert wrote:
Drivers seem to think they are a law to themselves. Numerous times doing illegal u-turns, parking in cycle lanes, ignoring speed limits, parking and opening their doors into cyclists etc. If they obeyed the rules of the highway like everyone else, the same goes for pedestrians who don't hear a car so step out into the road and into cyclists, the roads might be safer all round.
On 5 Jun 2015 at 9:42am Cam wrote:
Lewes makes almost no provision for cyclists. I find it a dangerous town to cycle in. I too am a driver, and a confident cyclist.. Being on a bike also shows up the dreadful state of many of the roads. Why do some of you have to be so rude and obstructive? Do you know? It would be good to use all that energy to problem solve the traffic issues together. Lewes isn't really designed for cars is it? So it would be intelligent to consider how to support more bikes and pedestrians. I sometimes drive rather than cycle to a place I could easily cycle to, if I wasn't so worried about the poor road quality and lack of provision for bikes. I can see cycle lanes are impossible but there are other possibilities. As long as some of you just want to be nasty, I guess conflict is all Lewes has to offer our problems. Sad.
On 5 Jun 2015 at 1:26pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
While waiting at the prison lights this morning, I saw a lady on a bike come round the corner by the prison on the pavement and come perilously to hitting a pedestrian walking down Nevill Road.
Luckily, said pedestrian wasn't old or disabled and was able to leap out of the way.
If cyclists showed more respect for other people, maybe they'd get a bit more respect themselves.
And why are they so rude? When I'm driving, I often move closer to the kerb when in traffic to let a cyclist or motorcyclist through easily. Motorcyclists generally give a wave to acknowledge my considerate actions (especially the guy who comes down Nevill Road of a morning on a Mark 1 Bandit 1200 - lovely road manners!) but cyclists almost never do.
And to the man on a bike who yanked my driver's door mirror the other week because I'd inadvertently got a drop or two of water on him while washing my windscreen: I had no idea that the spray reached the back of my car, because I'm not blessed with the ability to be in two places at once.
On 5 Jun 2015 at 1:37pm Paul Newman wrote:
I keep a huge feathered hat on my cross bar so I can 'doff' it when required. No seriously, I quite agree; bad road manners are unforgivably mean. With our winding busy roads, a big smile and a friendly wave are both a necessity and one of the joys of Lewes.
On 5 Jun 2015 at 7:13pm Cam wrote:
Annette, if one is cycling and on one of the many stretches of potholed or uneven road in Lewes it is dangerous to start waving at kind drivers. I struggle to take my hand off to indicate at times. As a car driver I am aware windscreen water usually reaches the back of the car. There needs to be some better provision for cyclists in town or improved roads. For example Southover Street has those silly bricks which shake the living daylights out of cyclists. It's stressful cycling around Lewes. I am always polite but I do arrive at my destination shaken and pleased I survived. Hardly the Amsterdam experience. There has been no thought for cyclists in this town. Many towns and countries manage an integration. There are 2 issues here getting conflated. One is the lack of provision for cyclists and the other is rude road users of all vehicles. Lewes has small streets and will get even busier and more air polluted, encouraging cycling and walking is sensible. Maybe cars could be banned entirely from the town, only allowing delivery vehicles and public transport?
On 5 Jun 2015 at 8:11pm Driver wrote:
Lewes is not a suitable town for cyclists due to its topography.
Cycle schemes may work in towns like Cambridge, or in the Netherlands, where the land is flat- but not in Lewes, where the streets are not only steep but too narrow for additional cycle lanes.
Lewes is also very compact. It takes only minutes to walk from one side of the town centre to the other. Cyclists- try walking.
On 5 Jun 2015 at 8:43pm Cam wrote:
Driver, are you saying you think the streets of Lewes are good for cars? Do you really live here!? I am not suggesting that there are cycle lanes but rather that cars are banned entirely from town. I say that as a car driver as well. I don't understand why that concept is so difficult to engage with. Bikes are useful because many of us cannot carry shopping and do not live on a bus route so it's either drive a car for a short distance and pollute the air more, or use a bike. There are electric bikes which get up the hills well for those who struggle to cycle up them. If you can only say 'cyclists, try walking', or cyclists should show some respect and wave you are refusing to listen to and understand someone else's life. That approach rarely works out well. I am saying that people need to cycle for all sorts of reasons that might not be important or crucial to you but are to them and it is better for the air you breathe.. if drivers can only offer an f off solution, it would make sense to ban cars. For every kind driver there are many others who want to take out the rage they exhibit here in this forum on cyclists, the elderly, the slow and disabled on our streets and roads. I think those full of rage could usefully be denied the power to maim and to indulge their lack of empathy, for the good of themselves as well as others I am a car driver and a cyclist. There would be no need for cyclists to mount the pavement for their own safety, thus endangering pedestrians if cars were not on those streets.
On 6 Jun 2015 at 8:44am Taff wrote:
Can, what about the one that mounted the pavement only to clatter my wife because he was travelling against the recommended flow and didn't have time to stop when a car, eventually came its correct way? Only for the middle aged cyclist to move off without not so much of an utterance of apology. Please convince me I should not regard cyclists as smug pretentious idiots?
On 6 Jun 2015 at 10:26am Grafter wrote:
Has I crossed anyone else's mind that someone who behaves like an idiot in a car will do the same on a bike! All this ire aimed at one means of transport or another is really just about human selfishness and the decline of civic virtue. Nobody minds a cyclist riding on a pavement when there are no other people around but it is extremely dangerous to do it otherwise. Some individuals lack empathy and refuse to consider others in their actions. If it isn't modelled by their parents it is unlikely to appear magically.
On 7 Jun 2015 at 6:12am Push Bike wrote:
Maybe the answer is in the name ? . Maybe there is a sense of entitlement here too ?
On 7 Jun 2015 at 8:25am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Cam's proposal for a car ban is so ludicrous I can't decide whether he/she's trolling or not.
The town centre is a residential area, many residents are elderly and/or disabled and those who live in the outlying areas have poor public transport and none at all in the evenings or on Sundays. Would Cam have a huge car park on the outskirts for those who live in the centre to park their cars in?
How would carers and social workers get to visit those who need their help? How would people who live in the villages around Lewes get here to shop, how would people who live in rural areas get here to work or go to college?
And I'd like to see Cam cycling home with a week's worth of shopping for a family of 4.
On 7 Jun 2015 at 9:55am skeptical green wrote:
It is perfectly possible to provide improved and safer cycle routes in Lewes with little disruption to car drivers. Some ideas; a cycle route to court road from the station allowing cyclists to access the Cliffe and bottom end of High St without interfering with the one way system or making them risk station Hill. Shared pavement on the little walked A275 section from Chailey as far as Offham then upgrading of the footpath behind Offham Church through to Landport to provide a cycle path which avoids the dangerous situation and delays to drivers through the bends past the Chalkpit . The Prison cross rds is a difficult one and would only really be solved by a surfaced path behind the prison linking the Nevill to Houndean, areas which I suspect would be expensive and might have environmental implications. In town the solution which has worked well in many other urban areas is to block off the ends of those streets through which you want to reduce car flow leaving a small gap for cycles and pedestrians. This limits car use in those streets to access only whilst leaving main car through routes open. It would need careful planning and can only work as a whole town exercise not piecemeal. I'm sure there are lots of other ideas and no doubt reasons why some of mine do not work, but the issue is whether local government is willing to put time into a comprehensive plan. I too am both a driver and cyclist and can find both poor and good behaviour by both.
On 7 Jun 2015 at 12:09pm Paul Newman wrote:
Some good ideas there SG, I especially like the idea of being able to get off the A275 which is not a pleasant ride. Makes you wonder what exactly the council are doing that is more important......
I wonder whether a letter to Ms Caulfield might get a a bit of impetus going I saw her 'maiden ' speech which was about our poor rail services and I suspect she might be very happy to do something tangible for Lewes. You suggestions are good and with a few more it starts to add up to a change in the town. Good for health environment and , just for once personal freedom as well.
You should be Lewes cycling Tsar
On 7 Jun 2015 at 12:52pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
The idea of using the track from Offham to Landport is a good one, but if it's a footpath and not a bridleway it would have to be reclassified.
I believe there's a path from the top bit of Houndean Rise to the track that runs behind the prison and past the stables. Cyclists could cross over into Spital Road and pick up Western Road by the Canon O'Donnell. I can't see many people objecting to that, although the track is used by lots of dogwalkers.
On 7 Jun 2015 at 4:43pm Cam wrote:
Annette, no I am not trolling. I am despairing of traffic in Lewes and trying to work out a way to get around here and would like help, not bikes bad, cars good sound bites. I am interested in debate and problem solving and this endless slagging off is so dispiriting, especially since there clearly are a lot of people here capable of problem solving. The failure to empathise depresses me. I am a car driver, a cyclist, 60 with a disability, brought up children and done 9 years of care for relatives older than me, Cam is my nickname. I am not hiding. I have a good point. Lewes is an Air Quality Management Area and is monitored because of the high levels of nitrogen dioxide, caused by traffifc, not bikes. Look at www.lewes.gov.uk/Files/2014_Air_Quality_Progress_Report.pdf. So the bikes are bad approach is anti social or unaware. It is hard as a cyclist to be stuck behind cars in traffic, the fumes are awful. No provision is made in town for cyclists. Southover High Street tarmac coming down from the Kings Head is lethal for any other than the strong. I need my car for big shopping, I am not anti cars but nor do I think the steets are only full of those servicing the elderly and shopping for families. I suspect if forum users were to be honest they would admit to being lazy at times. I would like to cycle more to do my bit for OUR air quality whilst i can, but it is simply too dangerous for cycling. This morning i had to drive to Newhaven, cyclists thoughlessly blocked the road, but i can understand why since there is no path as yet, nonetheless they were obstructive. Then as I waited to turn into my street a driver came head on in front of me. Both were dangerous. Neither apologised so I agree some people just don't give a flying monkeys about others. Since cars are more likely to kill than bikes and are causing the air pollution, i would like drivers to understand and help improve the lot of cyclists. It is for your benefit and that of our kids too.
On 7 Jun 2015 at 6:32pm Master of none wrote:
As a car driver , motorcyclist . Cyclist . 50 something . All I see is thoughtless drivers , so we could even say without due care it's a daily thing not taken that seriously , I'm up for a 5 year retest for all , but cyclist , the naughty ones know what they are doing when they do wrong , not sure which trait is worse ,
On 8 Jun 2015 at 5:56pm Bikes vs Cars wrote:
Come and express your views after the free screening of the new documentary Bikes v Cars. This Sunday 14 June at The Depot on Pinwell Road. All welcome - watch film first then discuss. No cars on the site, bicycles welcome, also free maintenance offered by Dr Bike. Tea and cake from Bean Cycling cafe. Let's work together to make a better town hey! ;-)
On 9 Jun 2015 at 10:31am Its all in the name... wrote:
"Bikes vs Cars" - hmm, that probably sums up your attitude no doubt?
Wouldn't a more constructive approach to the problem be shown by "bikes AND cars".
Until both "sides" accept that the other has equal entitlement to choose their mode of transport, and that each must make allowances for the other, then the pointless, and destructive, sniping will continue.
The more enlightened, less entrenched, approach is to try to find a workable compromise. Banning either cars or bikes is clearly not the "best" solution for all road users is it?
But no, the "Clarkson" types want to see cyclists run off the roads, while many among the the lycra-clad cycling brigade think they have a Divine Right to behave how they wish, regardless of other road users (and that includes pedestrians).
I wish both groups would stop promoting your petty "our way is best" and start working together for heavens sake!!!!!
Endless bickering makes both sides look like mindless morons...contructive discussion, with both sides prepared to adopt a mindset that tries to build compromises would probably improve the lot of all involved?
Clearly, as things stand, most Lewes streets are not wide enough to accept dedicated cycle lanes alongside motor vehicle lanes without major changes to trafic flows, more one way streets and so forth. Even if many agree that that approach would perhaps be the best, it will clearly not happen overnight, as the town is busy, and does not lnd itself to a more widesread "one way" system - and even if it did, there are limited "access" routes to the town for motor vehicles and cyclists alike, and many journeys by whatever vehicle (bike, car or public transport) tend to want to pass through the same points (e.g. Prison cross roads) an their way from A to B.
Maybe a Lewes "northern bypass" approach might help to keep a lot of the "passing through" cars out of town centre, by directing through (vehicle) traffic around the northern peripheray - but unless they build a road linking A27 Ashcombe roundabout round behind Houndean to Landport Fork (or furtehr north by Offham/Cooksbridge) , then perhaps run it overhead Landport and across the rver to join the A26 (either at northern mouth of Culfail tnnel (Brian the snail) or joining A26 north of Earwig corner), then traffic will continue to pass through the Prison Crossroads bottleneck.
But how many Lewes residents want to see a giant road cutting through the green and largely unspoilt Downs round the back of Houndean somewhere, and prhaps a giant flyover/elevated road across Landport or the Ouse flood plain somewhere near Willeys bridge, or up the other side of Malling?
The A27 does act as a southern bypass, and takes a lot of traffic out of the town centre by allowing A26 users to join A27 without squeezing through the town itself, but until the A275 can be linked directly to the A27 somewhere to the west of the town (e.g Ashcombe), and/or perhaps to the A26 somewhere between Brian's roundabout and Clayhill, then Lewes town centre and Prison crossroads in particular will remain a major "choke-point" for all wheeled transport :-(.

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