THERE are many reasons why the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane removal needs to be honoured.

1. Cyclists have seldom used Old Shoreham Road as they prefer to use quieter nearby roads. That hasn’t changed with the installation of the OSR "pop up" cycle lane in May 2020 (15 months ago). Few children have been observed cycling to school and college and few adults have been using the lane either as a dedicated YouTube channel maintained by a local resident and filming OSR almost daily can testify along with countless photographs and footage provided by other local residents

2. While we acknowledge central Government wishes to encourage more cycling and are providing councils with access to Active Travel funds for this purpose, councils are obliged by law to act democratically and in a non-ableist manner. This can only happen as part of a citywide cohesive transport plan considering all needs and through full consultation and buy-in from all citizen stakeholders. Cycle lanes cannot be decided in isolation from the bigger picture, as they have been. The "direction of travel" therefore cannot be allowed to be dictated by minority cycling pressure groups as that would mean forcing a minority agenda on to the majority and accommodating only minority wishes. This would constitute the opposite of democracy.

3. No city council in the country was directed to spend Active Travel Fund money on "pop up" cycle lanes without proper democratic process or consultation with all user groups including those it was legally obliged to consult such as disability groups (and in Brighton and Hove City Council’s case, omitted to, trying to claim, after this was pointed out, that they had).

4. The Old Shoreham Road may have been identified as a key cycling route for the council’s draft Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan. However this will now need to be revised following the failure of this temporary experimental scheme which had 15 months to gain traction and prove itself but has failed to do so.

5. There have been no valid traffic monitoring reports to indicate average speeds have not decreased as claimed by Bricycles and certainly no pollution monitoring reports of pre and post OSR cycle lane installation. On the contrary there is copious photographic evidence and film footage showing that this cycle lane has led to increased congestion and emissions. The council also refused to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment. Meanwhile at least one family has complained they have been unable to open their young son’s bedroom window overlooking the OSR for more than a year owing to gridlocked traffic fumes.

6. It was suggested at the council meeting on July 21 that the decision to remove OSR cycle lane should have been based on the opinions of several children from a nearby school who emailed in defence of it. We would remind that under-18s neither vote nor pay tax in this city so on that basis their input into this decision has no legitimacy.

7. A council survey earlier this year found that that 85 per cent of the population of Brighton and Hove opposed pop-up cycle lanes with 90 per cent of respondents opposed to the OSR cycle lane in particular. Yet not only have the council continued to install "temporary" cycle lanes unabated, there are plans to install yet MORE of them, no matter that the council recently admitted that they had committed disability discrimination via the pop up cycle lanes for over a year by impeding and removing disabled parking. However remedying this is clearly not a priority for our council. We can only hope all further Active Travel Funds are ceased with immediate effect before any more discrimination, congestion and economic havoc can be wreaked on our city, which needs to function as a working and welcoming tourist resort and destination as well as for those citizens who live and work here.

8. Labour said last year that it wanted to make an "evidence-based decision, based on traffic flows" but it seems the evidence has been contrary to what they might have wished for. Documentary evidence exists in spades that this experiment has caused nothing but gridlock and pollution.

Brighton and Hove City Council needs to do right by the citizens of Brighton and Hove tomorrow, August 10, and order the immediate removal of the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane as promised. A group of us will be gathering peacefully outside at 11am to remind them. Please join us.

There are ways of being Green which do not involve trampling democracy and peoples' lives We look forward to being part of that conversation going forwards.

GE Keys (on behalf of Friends of Brighton and Hove Citizens' Action Group)