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

Chris Williams, 46, from Hove, is calling on Brighton and Hove City Council to extend the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane which was installed in May.

Mr Williams says it needs to be part of a citywide network of lanes to provide an alternative to cars, similar to what is available in European cities such as Copenhagen.

The Argus:

>> READ MORE: Showdown over Old Shoreham Road cycle lane

He said: “This is all to do with allowing people to travel by bike as well as car – it is not at all about trying to get rid of cars.

“There are 62 per cent of UK adults who say they would like to cycle more but don’t because traffic conditions are too dangerous.”

The Argus:

Joe Taylor

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

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

Mr Williams believes this lane as part of a citywide network would work towards taking “urgent” action to tackle emissions.

He said: “Emissions are a big cause of premature deaths, as well as the climate crisis, which has already devastated millions of lives across the planet.

“Giving people non carbon-based transport options will help us meet these goals.”

One of the biggest criticisms levelled at the new lane is that cyclists don’t use it much.

But Mr Williams said: “There are cyclists using it – I cycle along myself although there is not as many bikes as cars, that is true.

“It’s a lack of connectivity issue. What we need to do is look at roads coming off Old Shoreham Road – Sackville Road for example – and provide safe routes there.”

Opponents also argue the scheme is increasing emissions in the area as congestion is building due to the removal of one car lane.

The Argus:

Mr Williams said: “Emissions won’t be going up, most cars have stop-start systems and the slower traffic speeds mean there’s less emissions.

“I do understand it’s difficult for people to queue, but we are in a difficult in-between stage, it’s difficult, but we must be patient.

“If we stick to building a citywide network, we will see a big drop in congestion overall. This is about allowing everyone to get around the city easily, regardless of whether you have a car or not. Space needs to be given to everybody.”

Click here for the interview with Peter Challis, the man behind the rival petition