Brighton Bike Share for Worthing – No plans for safer roads

Brighton bikes are coming to Worthing! Here is the catch: we can get hire bikes but can’t get safe cycle routes. Adur and Worthing Borough Council have a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP).  It has been completed and feeds into the West Sussex County Council Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan.

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The plan for Worthing and Adur is good, as is the County’s. Their aims are to get more people on bicycles. However, as you know we live in West Sussex, so will not see a network of joined up cycle routes in this county in the foreseeable future; at least, not in my life time!

Of course, if you travel east for a few kilometres you will meet up with Brighton’s cycle routes linking the city with West Sussex. Brighton has a growing number of cycle routes and is getting more and more people on bicycles, it has an enviable record for cycle safety and the most popular bicycle share scheme in the country outside of London.

Bike Share for Worthing

In fact the scheme has been so successful that they need to expand it to cover more of their county: Eastbourne and even into the cycle route desert of West Sussex. Worthing and Adur Borough Council are excited by this and it looks as if it will happen. More details to follow, but for now, there will be 322 bikes, 50% will be electric and up to 43 hubs for collection and or drop off.

I was at the meeting where this extension of the bike share scheme was presented and the general consensus was that, whilst creating safe cycle routes in West Sussex is unlikely to happen, providing bikes to get the non-cycling population on bicycles is. Where will these new people ride? You may ask. A quote from the active travel consultant explained that when the non-cycling public get on bikes those previously ambivalent residents become more aware and supportive of active travel infrastructure. This has been the case in London, Brighton and other cities. Very much a chicken or egg situation.

We live in strange times! West Sussex will continue to live in the past as the rest of the country heralds in a new era of post Covid travel and communication. Perhaps, at the coming county council elections you should write to your prospective councillor and lobby for a West Sussex Dinosaur Museum rather than for safer routes to school.

For any die hard motorists reading this, good design of active travel infrastructure should not impact on your car use other than make it easier of you. However, West Sussex County Council’s policys encouraging car use will continue for many years under the current regime leading to increasing congestion problems.

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