Imposing a cycle lane on Shoreham’s Adur Ferry bridge would be of ‘limited benefit’ and could create problems, a county council spokesman has said.
The idea had been proposed by several Herald readers in a response to a letter written by Riverbank resident Colin Burgoyne, who said speeding cyclists made pedestrians on the bridge risk ‘life and limb’.
Val Booker was one of the residents who suggested a white line down the middle of the bridge with cyclists on one side and pedestrians on the other.
She said: “It seems to work from Worthing to Lancing.”
Matt Fagge said he believed a designated bike path could be achievable – though he stressed that ‘most cyclists take due care and responsibility’ and that it was a minority of cyclists who ‘spoilt it for everyone’.
He said of the bridge: “It’s part of an important national cycle route which brings money and tourism to the town.”
However not all agreed a cycle lane on the bridge was the answer.
Chantal Stride said: “A cycle Lane would encourage those inconsiderate cyclists to go faster.”
Kriss Greene agreed: “Whilst it seems like the logical answer, nothing would be effective.
“Chop the bridge in half and you’ll still have people walking into it to look over that particular side of the bridge.”
A spokesman from West Sussex County Council said: “Since it opened in 2014, Adur Ferry Bridge has provided significant benefits to the local community.
“We do understand that interactions between cyclists and pedestrians can cause concern.
“Using white lines to achieve segregation has been considered in the past but evidence suggests that these are of limited benefit and can, in some instances, create problems: examples are cyclists travelling more quickly because they have a dedicated lane and/or pedestrians/cyclists using the wrong lane.
“The most recent data available indicates there have been no injury accidents on the bridge reported to Sussex Police.”
Some residents said cyclists should dismount when crossing the bridge.
Paddy Kelly said of cyclists: “I would like to see it be law to push their bikes.”
Suzanne Ross-Dale said: “Having had a couple of near misses I really don’t see why bikes cannot be walked across this short distance.
“Whilst the majority of cyclists are responsible there are the few that use it as if it was a velodrome.”
However Alastair Reid said: “It’s part of the national cycle network and a large part of it was paid for by cyclists.
“Surely they should be able cycle on it?”
Andrew Winder said it should be made clearer that the bridge was a shared space.
He said: “Pedestrians just don’t realise that bikes are allowed.
“I ride my bike very slowly across this bridge but receive zero cooperation from pedestrians.
“It needs to be clearer to everyone that it is a shared space.”
Laura Wilson added: “A speed limit would be helpful too.”
But the county council spokesman said it was not able to introduce speed limits for cyclists under existing UK legislation.
“However, we are looking at proposals for a future, county-wide campaign which would encourage people to be aware of the needs of other users on our roads, footways and foot paths,” the spokesman said.
“This may also include additional signs and/or advice / warnings painted on the foot/cycleway.”
Anti-social behaviour by cyclists, motorists and other road and path users should be reported to Sussex Police through the Operation Crackdown website
Clive Andrews from Shoreham-by-Cycle, a campaign group set up by residents to make cycling in Shoreham easier and safer, said: “Like most Shorehamites, we love the Adur Ferry Bridge. It’s a real asset to the town, linking Shoreham Beach to the high street, making car-free local transport much easier, and connecting Shoreham within the National Cycle Network’s Route 2 along the coast.
“But it’s fair to acknowledge that the design of the bridge isn’t perfect.
“It is great in many respects, but its combined ‘shared use’ status – bringing together people on foot and on bikes can sometimes make for uncomfortable situations, as people pass each other at differing speeds.
“The gradient of the bridge, steepening at each end, doesn’t help this feeling either.
“Across the UK, the greatest risk to pedestrians is, sadly, from motor vehicles, by an overwhelming margin.
“As a bridge that is closed to motor vehicles, the Adur Ferry Bridge is therefore one of the safest places in Shoreham to be a pedestrian.
“Neither West Sussex County Council nor Sussex Police are aware of any incidents.
“Nevertheless, we do acknowledge that some people feel uncomfortable mixing with other users of the bridge travelling at different speeds.
“Being safe is good, but really feeling safe is even better.
“We agree with the county council’s view that a simple white line painted along such a route is not ideal.
“In such situations, speed differentials increase while pedestrians can easily stray into the wrong area.
“In our view, there needs to be improvement in the way spaces like this are designed.
“Properly separated lanes, defined by kerbs, give everyone the clarity they need to make their journeys feeling safe and comfortable.
“The Millenium Bridge in Newcastle/Gateshead is a great example of this.
“Anything that makes walking and cycling easier and better in Shoreham is to be welcomed.
“We’re working with Adur District Council and West Sussex County Council to influence good design in future developments, but in the meantime, with the facilities we have at present, everyone has a duty to be considerate to their neighbours.”