THE man behind a petition to remove a controversial cycle lane has spoken out before a key meeting.

Peter Challis, 64, from Portslade, is calling on Brighton and Hove City Council to remove the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane installed in May.

Mr Challis says the lane on the major road is unsafe, causing congestion and little used.

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He said: “I’m apolitical, I just want what’s best for Brighton and Hove.

“It’s hardly being used by cyclists, it’s reducing road capacity for everyone else significantly, it’s causing congestion and delays and probably creating higher emissions.”

Since its installation, campaigners have battled over the future of the “Covid lane” with some wanting it made permanent and others wanting it scrapped.

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The showdown is set to come to a head at a Brighton and Hove City Council meeting on Thursday where the rival factions will present their petitions to councillors.

Mr Challis believes the scheme has been rushed through and the impact of the lane has not been considered.

He has also conducted his own research, between 7.55am and 8.30am on July 3, on the road between Hangleton Road and Olive Road.

He said research showed that during those 35 minutes, 408 vehicles and 15 cyclists passed on the eastbound route. On the westbound route, he says, 246 vehicles, and 13 cyclists passed during the time frame.

Supporters of the scheme say 62 per cent of UK adults say they would like to cycle more, but do not because traffic conditions are too dangerous.

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Photo credit: Joe Taylor

They believe everyone should be given protected direct routes to get more people cycling.

Mr Challis said: “I would say, yes, very good, we should be doing that and getting people out of cars and on to sustainable transport.

“However, there’s no point having a cycle lane for the sake of having a lane. The problem with the Old Shoreham Road is that it’s a major route into the city and cyclists living around the area would not use it.

“Because of the hills on the road, you see a lot of people dropping down to the lower roads because it’s flatter.”

Supporters of the scheme also argue that the road is safer as it has reduced traffic speeds.

Mr Challis said: “I do agree about the speeds on the road, we need more speed cameras and those people breaking the limit should be fined.

“Enforcement cameras should be put in place to make people do what they should be doing anyway.

“What you don’t do is take out 50 per cent of the road for safety issues and increase emissions as people are stuck in queues, thus making it worse for everyone along there.”

An interview with Chris Williams, who is behind the rival petition, will be in The Argus next week.