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Saddled with strange cycle paths
10:21am Thursday 12th June 2008 in News
Among an impressive number of cycle paths in Brighton and Hove are some very strange examples of idiosyncratic planning. Ruth Morgan takes a trip down some of the city's most puzzling bike lanes.
There is a growing collection of odd cycle lanes that many of the city's most regular riders have come to view with a strange affection.
Examples include the comically short, the wobble-inducingly thin and some that no one seems able to work out at all.
Fred Pipes began collecting examples of Brighton's bizarre bike lanes more than five years ago and created a website, www.weirdcyclelanes.co.uk, which is now well-known among the cycling community in Brighton and Hove, and beyond.
He insists he is not criticising the work of Sussex councils, which he believes are doing a good job of promoting and encouraging cycling.
But he is still baffled by some of the existing choices. He said: "It all started when I saw the pointless little cycle lane at the junction of Gloucester Street and St George's Place in Brighton - it's about the size of a small bicycle.
"The reasoning behind some of these tiny cycle lanes is beyond me but they've been here so long now you get used to them.
"It's a bit of fun really, although I've still got no idea why some of them exist."
One of the strangest looking of the short cycle lanes is at the junction of Baker Street and Ditchling Road, Brighton, and has been dubbed "the double ender".
There is also a stretch of cycle lane in Dyke Road that becomes so thin that only the most dexterous of riders can stay on track.
The newest addition to the collection is the cycle lane on the A259 by Telscombe Cliffs in Peacehaven, which is only four metres long.
But Mr Pipes believes the award for the tiniest of tracks belongs to a section on a traffic island outside the Duke of York's Picturehouse at Preston Circus, Brighton.
He said: "Although there are several contenders, that is still the shortest lane I've seen in the city. It's just 5ft long."
There are even mini obstacle courses for thrill-seeking cyclists.
Nick Marks, from training organisation Bike For Life, said: "I particularly like the stretch of path close to Preston Park that forces cyclists to dodge two huge trees.
"I've never seen anyone bump into either of the trees but it still makes me smile."
Riders on the Ditchling Rise lane in Brighton have to dodge not one, but two islands erected in their path for reasons unknown.
Chris Szczerba, of cycling courier company The Bike's The Business, said: "Brighton's becoming quite famous for some of its odd cycle lanes.
"We do certainly seem to have a lot of short ones and I'm not sure of their purpose.
"I think people quite like the quirky bits and, overall, Brighton has a great network for bikes."
What do you think of the city's odd cycle lanes? Comment below.