12 March 2013: As part of our football travel project, guest blogger Becky Reynolds tells us about efforts to get more people going by bike to Brighton and Hove Albion.
The home of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club at the Amex Stadium at Falmer, East Sussex is about 5 miles from the centre of both Brighton and Lewes. Situated at the edge of the South Downs National Park and next to the A27, the new-build stadium is accessible by road, rail, bus or cycle.
The bike is ideal for distances of this kind. It’s cheap, healthy and environmentally benign. Parking is easy. There are also cycle routes from Lewes and Brighton. But less than 0.4% of fans attending matches arrive by cycle. Figures for cycling to Falmer should be much higher, as indeed they should be for Football League matches generally.
Fortunately, Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club also sees the potential for increasing cycling and has encouraged it with prize draws for cyclists, improved bike parking and other measures. Increasing cycling and consequently reducing the air quality problems on the Lewes Road would be a great home win!
As a cyclist myself and campaigner for Bricycles (Brighton, Hove and District Cycling Group) and CTC, (the national cycling charity) I have been pushing for improved conditions for cycling, such as lower speed limits and better junction design. I was delighted to give my support to Brighton Bike Train who are constantly encouraging, promoting and facilitating cycling to the Falmer stadium (and indeed along the Lewes Rd generally) in their daily on-road group rides at commuting times. The style of riding enables cyclists to take up a good amount of road space i.e. more than just a cycle lane, and they benefit from the 'safety-in-numbers' approach.
Last year I accompanied the Bike Train ride to Falmer Stadium for the last match of the season. Local Councillor and Chair of the Transport Committee Ian Davey, joined Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas on the ride and Caroline shared a tandem with Duncan Blinkhorn, the leader of this initiative.
Brighton and Hove City Council has also been working to improve the infrastructure of the main road to Falmer, the A270 Lewes Road and was awarded £4 million from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to make improvements for cyclists, pedestrians and bus users. We now have a 30 mph speed limit on the A270 north of Brighton city centre and some excellent new infrastructure such as wider cycle lanes and junction/bus stop redesigns. The good work here in Brighton can be contrasted with the waste of money heaped by neighbouring East Sussex County Council and the Treasury on the misguided Bexhill Hastings Link Road!
A guest post by Becky Reynolds from the Bricycles Campaign www.bricycles.org.uk
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