Hall of Shame

This page lists some of the symptoms of either a lack of planning, a lack of competence, or a bias against cycling as a mode of transport in West Sussex County Council. These examples show what we're up against: not only do we need to improve conditions for cycling, but we have to try to stop WSCC and others from actively making cycling conditions worse!

New unofficial 5 mph speed limits on Worthing Prom

These contradict the shared-use approach of minimal signing, which was well-understood by the working group that set up the scheme, but which is now being ignored.

The limit is almost unenforceable, as many cyclists don't have speedometers and it's not a public highway. Speed limits on roads only apply to motor vehicles, which are required to have working speedometers. The best hope of enforcement would be for WBC to prosecute an offending cyclist in the civil courts: a costly exercise that would result in much bad publicity for the council, unless the cyclist was extremely reckless and dangerous, in which case existing laws would cover the offence without reference to a speed limit.

Problems might occur when pedestrians see the 5 mph speed limit, and then get angry with cyclists who ignore the "limit" purely to maintain stability.

Sculpture in the middle of National Cycle Nework Route 2 at Lancing Beach Green.

Lancing Parich Council, in the form of the Parish Clerk, were given some dark blue metal sculptures by Tesco. The Parish Clerk and local community officer thought that a good place to put one of these would be bang in the middle of the cycleway along the seafront. This was approved by WSCC, without anyone questioning the wisdom of placing a dark metal object with sharp edges in the way of people riding bicycles along a busy cycle route.

WSCC conceded that this should not have happened, but the evidence suggests that nothing was done to prevent something similar happening again.

The problem is that local decision-makers are doing things that impact negatively on the safety of people using bicycles for transport. In this particular case the problems are compounded by the fact that this stretch of cycleway is extremely popular (more than 1,000 bicycles per day in summer months) and that the location already involves tricky turns.

Cyclists Dismount signs at Beach Green Lancing that also say 'pedestrians have priority'.

Disregarding the design failure represented by 'Cyclists Dismount' sections, "Pedestrians have priority" should be used for shared space.

There is no legal requirement for cyclists to dismount here, and the signs are merely advisory. But unfortunately some people think they have legal status, and this has lead to cyclists being threatened and abused for no reason at all.

The logic of the sign locations is also apparently badly flawed: they appear where there is good visibility for cyclists, and yet don't appear in places where visibility is poor and where pedestrians may unexpectedly appear in the way of someone on a bike.

These signs should be removed, as evidence from places around the world, not least on Worthing Prom, show that cyclists and pedestrians mix quite safely. Certainly much more safe than mixing cyclists with fast-moving heavy motor vehicles.

Removal of no-parking at any time restrictions on the road approaching the Widewater Lagoon Car Park.

There is no pavement here. At some times cyclists, pedestrians, mobility scooters etc. have to contend with parked cars as well as cars going in and out of the car park.

The result is a bad home-goal, yet again encouraging people to drive in their cars, rather than travel by sustainable and efficient modes of transport.

End of Cycle Route signs at each end of the new Shoreham Footbridge.

Sustrans asked WSCC about these signs, in the middle of a National Cycle Network route. The response from WSCC justified 'End of Cycle Route' because a Safety Audit flagged a dropped curb at one end of the bridge. The mileage signs that helped promote the route have disappeared.

Another example where cycling is discouraged, even on an expensive new piece of infrastructure designed specifically to encourage cycling. Sustrans fund and build an excellent bridge for the benefit of everyone, West Sussex County Council come along and discourage cycling.

It's odd that a Safety Audit resulted in these signs, when WSCC apparently don't bother with Safety Audits on cycling infrastructure normally. Cyclists have to put up with unlit, dark, solid objects in the middle of cycleways, and no Safety Audits result in making those cycleways safer to ride along.

Inconsistent Coloured Surfacing

If you ride along National Cycle Network 2 between Worthing and Shoreham Beach, you'll notice that WSCC have used coloured surfacing. At the Worthing end, the colours mean:

  • Green: cycleway.
  • Red: shared use between cycling and pedestrians.
  • Black: pedestrian footway.

but, illogically and confusingly, at the Lancing/Shoreham end the colours mean:

  • Green: shared use.
  • Red: CYCLISTS DISMOUNT advice.
  • Black: cycleway, or footway, or shared use.

No wonder cyclists get confused!

One also wonders why the experts in WSCC can't design a national-standard cycleway that doesn't have the need to ask people to get off their bicycles at a few selected locations along the route. Would they build a new road that required car drivers to get out and push, or a new footpath that required pedestrians to take their shoes off?

One other thing: the bumpy thermoplastic surface, applied manually in overlapping strips, makes a horrible surface for cycling on. Which is why many ride illegally on the lovely smooth pedestrians side when they can, it's a lot less effort and a lot more comfortable.

High Street Worthing cycle track

This one goes back a long way, and the amateur street archaeologist can see evidence of many changes over time. Initially this track consisted of white lines on the footway opposite Safeways (now Waitrose). The problem was that this pavement is narrow and busy with pedestrians, so not ideal to cram cyclists on too. The worst bit was the fact that WSCC expected cyclists heading south to leave the cycle track at the roundabout with Union Place: on the wrong side of the road, in front of cars whose drivers would be looking in exactly the opposite direction! This danger was pointed out to them, and the result was some nice new painted arrows pointing north. Southbound cyclists were expected to return to the busy dual-carriageway, it seems.

One wonders why WSCC didn't merely use some of the vast expanse of space taken up by five lanes for motor vehicles plus a wide central reservation. High Street is only single-carriageway just to the south, so why didn't they make it single carriageway outside Safeways/Waitrose as well, leaving plenty of space for cycleways on both sides of the road, well out of the way of pedestrians?

For those who like silly cycle tracks, the tiny, pointless, painted curve (dumping cyclists into cornering motor traffic) on the corner between North Street and Upper High Street, is a joy.