TODAY was probably the last time I will ever cycle on the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane, which has been a lifeline for my daily commute on the bike over the past 15 months.

The day after the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report was released, a decision was made in Brighton and Hove City Council (a council that has declared climate emergency and has committed to reach net zero carbon by 2030), led by Conservative and Labour councillors and opposed by Green Party councillors, to remove this cycle lane that provided a safe alternative to enable more people to opt for cycling for their daily commute.

This cycle lane was funded using money from the government's Active Travel Fund, the guidelines of which clearly state that decisions on the future of such schemes should be based on evidence, statistics and facts.

An independent council officers' report is rich in evidence that the cycle lane has contributed to an increase in cycling, but this cycle lane has caused controversy over the time it's been in place and following a few local Facebook groups I've seen such disheartening amounts of hate aimed at cyclists.

I feel sorry for the children attending schools along the road, especially Hove Park, Bilingual and Aldrington, who are stripped of the opportunity to get to school safely on their bikes, for delivery people using bikes, and for anyone who hasn't got a suitable alternative.

I've been left numb at our future a day after the latest wake-up call on the climate emergency we are facing. People don't by default want change, especially when it has the potential to deprive us of a fraction of our comfort.

It's all been politics while our house is on fire.

I want my daughter to know in future that I did fight for this and have always believed that there can be hope in educating people as well as listening. And that it is so important to express your support for something positive as people are guaranteed to make their complaints sound louder.

At the end of the day the failure was never the cycle lanes themselves. It was the lack of commitment to engage and educate people, to ask why does it matter so much to the non-cyclists if the cycle lane is there if the worst it can ever cause is a minor delay at a bad junction (which was not proven and could still be avoided with infrastructure improvements)? Why so much hate? Why not enable those who can and want to try a sustainable commute do it safely? There are lessons to be learnt here.

Emma Georgitsi

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