Cuts of £3.5million to Brighton and Hove Council will cause a dent in road safety measures, filtering down to the already minimal protection provided for cyclists. Those peddlers brave enough to take to the busy roads of Brighton are to see their personal safety taken less seriously as the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP) takes a 43 percent reduction in budget.
These cuts are part of wider welfare reform announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review by Chancellor George Osbourne, which has seen Cycling England replaced by the Local Sustainable Travel Fund. Unfortunately for cyclists this will place more emphasis on bus and pedestrian road safety and specifically in Brighton means slashing budgets for speed cameras, speed signs and schemes training children to be safe whilst cycling on the road. The SSRP have warned that more cuts cannot be ruled out in the foreseeable future.
Cycling thus takes a double blow as motoring speeds are likely to increase whilst education on cycling road-safety is cut. In 2009, 177 cycling accidents occurred in Brighton, and the Lewes Road stretch up to Falmer has been identified as a particularly hazardous area.
Accidents are not unknown to the student population. Ines Klinesmith, a fourth year French student, recently got knocked off her bike by a car turning off Lewes Road and suffered a shoulder injury.
Although she will continue cycling once she’s recovered, she expressed her concern at the intolerance shown by drivers towards cyclists: “Road safety is an issue for both cyclists and drivers and there should be more measures being implemented for cyclists, rather than cuts.
“I will still definitely be cycling into uni, but I’ll probably only do it with the bike train as it seems to be the safest way.”
Brighton is not alone in making cuts to road safety. Hartlepool has already abandoned a £200,000 cycle lane and signs initiative as a result of local council cuts.
Students who feel nervous about cycling to campus are advised to join the bike train. The bike train leaves at 8.30am or 9.30am from the Level and takes over a lane of traffic as it travels up Lewes Road. It departs towards town from the university at 5.45pm.