A27 Cycleway Lancing - Shoreham

The Highways Agency have built a cycleway along the south side of the A27 between the Lancing Manor Sports Centre and the road leading to the Shoreham Toll Bridge. This is a very welcome development, as this route is used by many cycle commuters, and in the past they were forced to ride (illegally) on the rough and narrow footway.

Good Bits

The route is now legal to cycle along, so there is less pressure on cyclists to ride on the 70mph A27 itself.

If only the western end was accessible by bike, it's a route that could be good enough for families to use to access the Downs Link from Lancing. It's possible to use it now, but you have to either labouriously dismount to use footways, or commit a criminal offence by cycling on the footway: neither action should be needed on a cycleway!

The section running past the layby is actually a decent width for two-way use!

Poor Bits

The surface alongside the layby has not been laid very flat, so although it's smooth (good!) it is quite undulating (not so good!). It would have been much better if it had been laid properly by machine, like the cycleway further east has been.

The section that is converted footway is a little on the narrow side for two-way use. The cycleway alongside the layby is a good width.

There are some very misleading "CYCLISTS REJOIN CARRIAGEWAY" signs where the route joins the existing service roads. It looks like cyclists are expected to re-join the main carriageway, i.e. the A27 here, which is not the case. The route in fact uses the service road, which has had cycle logos painted along it. Alternate logos seem to suggest cyclists heading west should ride on the right-hand-side of the road, continental-style, but this really confuses the car drivers if you do that.

There is no protection from 70mph vehicles on the section that is converted footway. Crash barriers between the cycleway and the carriageway would be a welcome safety enhancement, and would also help to minimise blinding glare from motor headlamps for cyclists riding east in the dark (and especially in the wet).

The short cycleway along the northern side of the A27 at the Sports Centre bus stop doesn't do very much. It's confusing for non-local cyclists too, as it looks like you can cycle east this way, but then you get "END OF ROUTE" and "CYCLISTS DISMOUNT" just past the bus stop. What is needed is a cycleway from Manor Road to the toucan crossing, and clear signing to let eastbound cyclists know that the cycleway to Shoreham is on the south side of the A27 so they should cross here.

Bad Bits

The crossing of the layby entrance is still very difficult and quite dangerous heading west with potential conflicts with motor vehicles slowing from 70mph. There is not nearly enough space to negotiate this crossing, especially if there are cyclists coming the other way. A wider area to allow cyclists to turn to be at right-angles to the slip road would help enormously.

The crossing of the layby near the layby exit is not easy to negotiate, involves 90-degree turns, and is not a very direct route. Cyclists ignore this "facility" in favour of cycling a more direct diagonal route that involves fewer sharp turns and is much more efficient. This is clearly visible from bicycle tyre tracks here.

People on bicycles wishing to reach the Coombes Lane have to fend for themselves amongst motor traffic, or dismount and cross the roads in stages as pedestrians and walk across some muddy grass.

Unacceptable Bits

The cycleway stops just before the Lancing Manor Sports Centre roundabout, with a "CYCLISTS REJOIN CARRIAGEWAY" sign. This is not acceptable: this roundabout is extremely busy with fast-moving motor vehicles in two lanes coming from all directions.

Suggested Improvements

  • Remove all "CYCLISTS REJOIN CARRIAGEWAY" signs, as there should never be a need for cyclists using this route to ride on the A27 itself.
  • Extend the cycleway along the A27 a few metres further to meet Grinstead Lane.
  • Provide a short cycleway joining Manor Way to Hayley Road.
  • Provide much more space for cyclists to turn and position themselves to cross the layby slip road at right angles. So cyclists have space and time and the ability to see easily when it is safe to cross here.
  • Provide crash barriers on the 70mph stretch of A27 to shade blinding glare from motor headlights and for safety.
  • Re-lay the top tarmac surface to be flat like a normal road surface would be.


2011, January 19: Meeting between Worthing Cycle Forum and the Highways Agency, attended by John Payne of Balfour Beatty. We were discussing the A27 from a cyclist's point of view, and John was responsible for the road from Chichester to Worthing. We talked about Lancing to Shoreham, and he said he'd pass the comments that a cycleway was needed here to his colleague who was responsible for that stretch of the A27.

2011: Worthing Cycle Forum members ask for a copy of the report about cycling and the A27 that had apparently been written following consultations like the above. No report is seen. It transpires that Balfour Beatty in fact produced a highly detailed 70+ page Feasability Study document, as early as March 2011 (see attachments).

2012: Nothing.

2013: Nothing (with hindsight we know that detailed plans were started in August, but weren't shared with local cyclist groups.).

2014: Nothing.

2014, August: Local people notice road works on the A27, and what looks like a cycleway or new footway being built. No-one in the cycling world knows anything about it.

2014, August 11: Email correspondence with Balfour Beatty asking whether what was being built was indeed a cycleway. They confirmed that it was and sent a design drawing.

2015: Work on the cycleway has been completed, as far as can be seen. Some problems and concerns remain. More local cyclists make contact with the Forum about this.


The contractor who looks after the A27 here, on behalf of the Highways Agency, is Balfour Beatty. Following a FOI request to the Highways Agency, the stakeholders consulted for this scheme were:

  • West Sussex County Council
  • Worthing Cycle Forum
  • West Sussex Police
  • Sustrans

This is odd, because apart from the meeting in 2011 when the idea was floated, the Worthing Cycle Forum knew nothing about this cycleway, and certainly were no consulted about even the rough design. If we had been consulted we would definitely have commented on the complete lack of access for cyclists at the Lancing end. The first the Forum knew about the plans was when we saw the cycleway being built.

West Sussex Police have no record of being consulted, and the local Lancing police do not either. The first thing they knew about the plan was when they saw it being built. Which is interesting, as the local PCSO had been directly involved with talking to residents living on the south side the A27 who had complained repeatedly about cyclists riding illegally on the footway outside their homes, travelling between Lancing and Shoreham.

Sustrans have no record of being consulted either, and they would definitely have commented on the western end of the cycleway being disconnected from any safe routes for cyclists in Lancing.

We don't know if West Sussex County Council were consulted, and if they were it's unlikely they would have contributed much as they no longer have a Cycling Policy, and they no longer have a County Cycling Officer. If they were consulted, then they might perhaps have commented on the lack of connection at the western end, and could have proposed to add in a link between Manor Way to Hayley Road: very simple and relatively cheap to organise.