CYCLISTS have claimed changes on a busy Aldwick road are unsafe.
Bognor Cycle Forum chairman Dave Barton and member Dr Malcolm Ridley attended Aldwick Parish Council’s meeting on Monday to raise their concerns about the Fish Lane scheme.
Dr Ridley said: “The design has not given consideration to the safety of cyclists. By challenging cyclists and motorised traffic together, effectively the cyclists are being used as a traffic-calming measure, thus compromising their safety.
“We would like the support of Aldwick Parish Council in persuading West Sussex County Council highways to provide a safe cut-through for cyclists at the Fish Lane pinch-point.”
Mr Barton added: “Judging by the government’s recommendations on the road safety audit, they should include a statement on the safety of both pedestrians and cyclists.
“Neither the road safety audit one or two have included that. We would like your support in trying to note the safety of cyclists throughout Aldwick.”
In an email to Mr Barton from Simon Osbourne, project manager from West Sussex County Council, he said: “The scheme has been developed in partnership with Aldwick Parish Council following concerns raised by residents of Fish Lane regarding driver behaviours and speeds.
“The implementation of the gateways and associated road markings are designed to highlight the change in environment from a wide open promenade to a narrow residential road and have been constructed within existing hatched sections of the carriageway.
“I fully understand your comments and if this had been a longer narrowing then certainly we would have considered a wider width but in this instance we consider the benefits that would accrue in improved driver behaviour and reductions in speed help mitigate the risk of the short narrowing.
“I can confirm the design has undergone a road safety audit with no issues around cycling being raised.”
Cllr Lilian Richardson, the parish council’s chairman, said: “We are always interested in the safety of anyone and particularly cyclists.
“Five years ago, residents of Fish Lane voiced their worries about the speed of traffic.
“A report of traffic speed and accidents was collated, the data was collated and as a result of that we were told that there were two options.
“One, which was very cheap, about £1,500 to £1,800, I think, seemed to have little effect. A second option we were offered was at a cost of about £18,000 and that seemed to have some benefits.
“In fact, when it came down to discussing it with the county council, we were told that if we went for option one we couldn’t have it because it would have no effect.
“Aldwick Parish Council met with the county council highways and signage. The purpose of the meeting was to indicate the best signs for an area requiring drivers to be more alert and to slow down because of the nature of the road and the conditions.
“I was not at that meeting but I know that councillors are very clear that they did not want the word Aldwick on the sign. But the county council highways and representatives indicated that there was no choice.
“They are not parish boundary signs. To think that parish boundary signs can be altered that easily is naive. Parish boundary signs are where they are and have not altered one jolt.
“What really caused problems for us was the fact that when the press approached the county council highways for an estimate of the cost for the road traffic-calming in Fish Lane, they were told that it was £80,000.
“This was a cost was in fact untrue – the cost was nearer £18,000 and over £60,000 was used to upgrade areas of the highway in the same area. They did it at the same time as the traffic-calming measures so that there would be a reduced amount of time with the traffic being disturbed.
“I regret greatly the amount of flack that this council has taken because of this misinformation. This council does not deserve that.”
Cllr Ash Patel has agreed to arrange a meeting between the Bognor Cycle Forum and Mr Osbourne to discuss the concerns about the changes.