You might think that cyclists would automatically support the building of new cycle lanes. Well it depends on the lane.

It’s almost sixty years since the first cycle lane was provided in Sussex, a modest affair linking the village of Kingston with Lewes.

There were many faults with the design but it succeeded in the main aim of taking riders away from a busy and dangerous main road.

I was delighted because it was the first time anyone had given serious consideration to cyclists in Sussex.

The general feeling among traffic engineers and councillors was that cyclists were an anachronistic nuisance that should be swept off the road.

They did not fit into a world where the car was king and impediments to its use should be actively discouraged.

I rode a bike to work all through a long career as a journalist and was often mocked for it. Yet I was convinced there was a place for cycling in any sensible modern traffic pattern.

I was helped in that belief by visiting relatives in Holland where cycling had always been a major part of planning.

When I went to The Hague I was astonished to see at a busy junction that bikes were given priority over cars.

More recently I have been to Copenhagen where there is a superb system of commuter cycling which works well.

In Sussex and many other parts of Britain, cycling almost died in the Sixties and Seventies.

It was only through the indefatigable efforts of pressure groups such as Bricycles, the Brighton and Hove cycling campaign, that progress was made.

Les Robinson of Bricycles won a famous victory over Hove Council that enabled the first short stretch of seafront cycle lane to be built.

This must be one of the best used and most attractive cycle lanes in Britain despite some major design faults.

But most cycle lanes built in Brighton and Hove since then have been a sad disappointment.

One by the A23 north of Patcham is far too close to the road and is seldom used.

It has a junction at Pyecombe which is a hilly, complex mess while southbound it peters out at the most dangerous spot.

Cyclists heading west by the A259 at Hove Lagoon are suddenly sent down Wharf Road, a busy, narrow street full of large lorries. Then they have to dismount to walk over the lock gates of Shoreham Harbour.

Often they have to wait for ships to go through the gates, adding about ten minutes to their journey.

After all this they are shoved down back streets towards Shoreham. Going east, riders are told to use an unappealing route through Telscombe Cliffs and Peacehaven. Then at Rushey Hill they are sent down a hilly track which does not deserve to be a cycle route.

There is a cycle lane running by the sides of Grand Avenue and The Drive in Hove. It has awkward little gutters and riders look down constantly at possible obstructions. It was extremely expensive to build and is little used. I avoided it, preferring to use side streets.

All these follies do not alter the road pattern but the new ones proposed in a hurry by the city council certainly do.

By far the worst is the new system in Old Shoreham Road, Hove. Traffic is restricted to a single lane in each direction causing long queues of cars.

On most visits I do not spy a single cyclist and it has always been a road avoided by them. One particularly crazy section has bikes in a lane taking road space while a pavement nearby is hardly ever used.

I cross the Old Shoreham Road several times a week to visit my allotment and it is clearly being avoided by most riders.

There are many more cyclists on the seafront cycle lane but another idiotic scheme has been devised for it by the council.

Instead of leaving the route where it was between the Peace Statue and Courtenay Gate, the council has moved it into the road where it takes up a lane and is dangerous

Most motorists do not have a prejudice against riders these days and often admire them for cycling in a busy windy city

Cyclists are playing their part by riding in the bike lanes rather than on the prom.

But I find some road users are getting the feeling that the council is using Brighton and Hove as an experiment to see if drivers and riders will fight each other.

Councillors should scrap the Old Shoreham Road nonsense and devise far more sensible changes to the seafront lane, such as moving it off King’s Esplanade.

In that way the city by the sea can make cycling a transport of delight instead of a laughing stock.