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En route: a new safe cycling campaign

The University of Sussex Students’ Union and the Bike Train will run a campaign to raise the level of cycle safety along the Lewes road, and ensure adequate provision for cyclists.

The campaign will be sponsored by the family of Joanna Walters who died in a road accident in June of last year.

Walters, a student at the University of Brighton, was hit by a van near the underpass in Lewes Road.

The Bike Train, Bricycles, the Students’ Union, the family of Joanna Walters and other groups are having a conference in the near future.

They aim to raise public awareness and to influence the Local Authorities and Brighton and Hove City Council to improve their standards.

They also want students to join in to help lobby for a higher safety measure, particularly as Joanna Walters was a student as well.

Biz Bliss, Students’ Union Operations Officer explained why the campaign is important: “A study of the Lewes road has been created and sets out recommendations for improvements of the cycle path to the Universities from Brighton. The campaign is about getting these recommendations implemented.

“During the coroner’s report at the inquest of Jo Walters’ death, it was found that one of the contributors to her death was the width of the road. At the point where she died on the Lewes road, the width of the cycle path was 1.9m when the recomended space for mixed pedestrian/cycle path is 3m. Things like this should be addressed in order to improve safety and minimise the risks. These are concrete things we can pursue.”

The popularity of the Bike Train shows the perceived danger of cycling on the Lewes Road and these groups are renowned for being safer ways to cycle.

Bliss further commented: “When I cycle up the Lewes road to Sussex campus, I am always thinking to myself this situation is an accident waiting to happen.

“Following the death of Joanna Walters, we need to ask ourselves what action we are going to take to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Until cycling as a mode of transport is taken more seriously, and the right provisions are made for cyclists, we are likely to see more accidents and more people put-off this sustainable form of transport. It is time we became the cycling city we are supposed to be.”

The campaign will launch on Monday 7 March during Greenweek. (which is running from 5 to 11 March).

There will be petitions, talks, surveys, film-making and much more.

For information on how to get involved in the new campaign, contact Biz Bliss via e-mail at: operations@ussu.sussex.ac.uk or the Bike Train on Facebook.

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