‘Appalling’ to scrap Chichester pop-up cycle scheme in entirety

As someone who has relatively late in life taken up cycling I am shocked at the way Roger Elkins, the county council’s cabinet member for highways, has taken the decision to totally abandon and remove the Covid pop-up cycle scheme in the city centre from the station to the hospital, writes reader Ian Sumnall, of Birdham Road, Chichester.

Oaklands Way toward to Northgate gyratory | Picture by Steve Robards
Oaklands Way toward to Northgate gyratory | Picture by Steve Robards

After barely six weeks of the experimental scheme, with no proper analysis he has arbitrarily scrapped the scheme in its entirety.

While I and other people who cycle accept that it was not perfect, to throw away all its components (including bus lanes and speed limits), when it has had barely time to be monitored is appalling.

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I am particularly disgusted that the factual evidence on which his decision would be expected to be based is either not available, or contradicts his decision.

For instance; no road safety information was available to be analysed, although no accidents were reported; no increase in congestion was monitored; car road speeds barely decreased; no increase in air pollution was found.

Only one incident was reported of an emergency vehicle being delayed.
I realise that the majority of the public expressed views against the scheme, but they should have been first presented with the facts so a proper informed public examination could take place before seeking their opinions.

This debacle, which many predicted would happen, has taken place in part because there was no consultation with any cycling, or motoring, organisation prior to its implementation; many of us sent in ideas.

I believe that unfortunately this will set back cycling initiatives in the city by five years or more, and cyclists will continue to risk their safety in the city centre which has an appalling road safety record, especially at the Northern Gyratory where over six slight or serious accidents involving cyclists have taken place over the last three years.

None of this was taken into account when coming to a decision and I can only conclude that the cabinet member is simply playing to the gallery and is not serious about making serious improvements to cycling, climate change and public health.