I JOINED a "bike swarm" with city leaders to identify issues for cyclists in Brighton and Hove.

Jumping on a Bike Share bike - my main mode of transport since the start of the pandemic - I met up with cycling campaigners, Green councillors and Lloyd Russell-Moyle at The Level.

From there, we experienced the cycle lanes built as part of the Valley Garden's project. As expected, they felt great to ride on. Crossing the road felt safe, however you have to do so with pedestrians on snakey islands.

At the end of the current Valley Gardens scheme, you are confronted a host of issues associated with the area around Brighton Palace Pier.

It's not immediately clear how you cross over the road at the A23 junction with Grand Parade. I was thankful to be with the city's decision-makers, otherwise I would have felt I was doing something wrong.

We then approached the Aquarium Junction, which is a nightmare. I normally choose to get off and cross with pedestrians to avoid facing the volatile traffic at the roundabout, reported to be one of the country's least safe.

After navigating the roundabout, you must find a way onto the seafront lane from the road. A difficult task considering the area feels like one of the busiest in the city.

You are forced to weave in and out of people who seem totally unaware of the lane. For example, last Thursday I was brought to a total halt due to an impromptu dance party.

A temporary cycle lane covering this route was removed last year after being blamed for gridlock. The irony of its removal is this is where more space for cyclists was most needed.

Cycling further westward, we get to the new cycle path taking up one lane of the A259. Residents will undoubtedly be aware that many cyclists chose not to use it.

The new scheme, introduced last year, means only eastbound cyclists can use the properly segregated cycle lane above Hove Lawns.

Westbound cyclists must now use this new lane in the road, and many choose not to do so.

To me, it is obvious why. Using it extends the length of your journey, it is less convenient, and it is less safe.

Firstly, getting onto the lane can be difficult as you must cross past eastbound cyclists, which can be frustrating on a busy day.

And now you are in the road, you are now faced with several waits at traffic lights.

Some of these are not accompanied by a junction, nor are affected by seafront traffic, which makes you wonder why you must do so.

I guess that's the reason I've seen many cyclists just ignore them.

The new disabled seafront parking means blue badge holders must cross the cycle lane to get to the pavement from their cars. It makes you cautious that you could unwittingly hit someone doing so.

And then, most worryingly of all, at the end of the lane, near Third Avenue, it suddenly turns into a bus stop. I have previously witnessed a cyclist having to turn into the lane of traffic to pass a parked bus.

This worries me considering the incident in April. A cyclist who turned into A259 traffic due to the work on the lane was hit by a hit-and-run driver. He broke bones in three of his limbs.

Considering these points, as someone who has been cycling on the seafront for more than a decade, I do not understand how this can be preferable to the option before.

I agree with The Argus's Sage of Sussex, Adam Trimingham, who described the current route as "dangerous".

Due to the highly welcomed return of motoring events to Madeira Drive, namely the Classic Car run, we were not able to experience the new green lane.

Having used this before, I can report that it felt great having so much space in the road, which now boasts an impressive number of visitors on a sunny day.

However, removing one lane means cars wait in huge queues which can only move once the person at the front of the line has finished parking.

Seeing those long queues, it is no wonder that some chancers park in the cycle lane itself for a quick drop-off.

It feels like a road trapped between two futures and town planners must do something to ensure the space works for everyone.

Showing drivers how many spaces are left in the road before entering, an idea which I saw on Twitter, could go some way to fix the gridlock.

In summary, as a cyclist I welcome the attitude of the council in its desire to make our roads safer.

However, when, or if, these changes made permanent, better solutions must be found which takes on board feedback from all road users.