Cycle Lewes is a voluntary organisation that supports and encourages cycling within Lewes and the surrounding area. To date, we have been primarily a campaigning group, trying to improve facilities and conditions for cyclists and promoting cycling around Lewes.

Our response to ESCC’s Local Transport Implementation Plan

Recently, East Sussex County Council drafted its “Local Transport Plan Implementation Plan 2016/17 – 2020/21”, which applies to Lewes and Ringmer and the South Downs National Park.

More information, and downloadable (PDF) documents of the draft plan can be found here at ESCC’s site. An online survey, to keep feedback, can also be found there.

Cycle Lewes’s chair, Simon Giddey, recently provided our response, saying, “… we would like to see a greater emphasis on steering a move towards the use of sustainable transport. We also feel strongly that clear and measurable targets should be established in order to measure progress in this respect. These targets should reflect recent Government aspirations for improvements in the numbers of people walking and cycling as part of their day to day activity.

“We would also like to see a clear recognition of the important health benefits which will accrue from increased levels of active travel and the significant impact that this would have in reducing the ever spiralling costs of the nation’s health and care services.”

He continued, “We welcome the broad statement of aims regarding ‘improvements to key walking and cycling corridors….’ However, there is a significant lack of detail showing how this might be achieved.

“We are pleased that the need to route NCN Regional Route 90 through Lewes town has been recognised as an important measure but it is disappointing that no other measures to support cycling (apart from ‘Improved cycle parking at key locations’) have been identified.”

For Future Measures, “Cycle Lewes would like to see the establishment of a signed network of cycle routes, with links to key transport hubs (railway station, bus station) and links to other major routes (NCN90, Egrets Way, Cuckoo Trail). Some of these measures would be relatively low cost but could help to facilitate cycling, particularly for visitors.

“As an example, the excellent Ringmer to Lewes cycle path leads cyclists heading towards Lewes to the bottom of Mill Road but fails to offer a signed route to the centre of town avoiding, as far as possible, travelling through heavy traffic. It could be done!

“Cycle Lewes believes that a traffic-free cycle route leading north out of town is needed. This would provide a corridor for inhabitants of the villages of Barcombe, Plumpton, Hamsey etc to reach Lewes and would be an attraction for those tourists visiting Lewes who are looking to explore the wonderful lanes in this area. Ideally, a route would be established along the old Lewes to Uckfield railway track, with a new bridge provided just south of Hamsey old church.

“The narrow streets and the hills are significant problems for cyclists in Lewes. Both of these combine to make junctions, when cyclists may have to stop or negotiate through traffic, quite dangerous. The introduction of advanced stop lines (ASLs) at all traffic light controlled junctions in the town would make cyclists much safer and would serve to increase cyclists’ confidence in riding in traffic. We believe that this could contribute to an increase in cycling as a travel choice and should be identified as a priority measure.”

Under ‘Maintenance’ we would like to see a reference to maintaining and improving cycle ways. For example we would like to see the completion of the Kingston to Lewes cycle path which currently directs cyclists travelling towards Lewes over a totally unsuitable section of road surface in Cockshut Road. Completion of this route, with appropriate surfacing and signage would encourage active travel between Lewes and Kingston.

In addition, Cycle Lewes would like to see a commitment in the plan for ESCC to work with Highways England to secure significant improvements to that section of the NCN Regional Route 90 which runs alongside the A27 between Lewes and Falmer. This route is very heavily used by commuters and every effort should be made to encourage cycling between Lewes and Falmer/ Brighton in preference to car use. The recently completed Lewes to Ringmer cycle path, where for most of the route there is a barrier of vegetation between the cycle path and the traffic, should serve as a useful example for the remodelling of what could be an important and well used cycling corridor.”

The Cliffe High Street report

Cliffe High Street

During 2015, Cycle Lewes, along with Lewes Living Streets, Cliffe and Cuilfail Residents, conducted a survey to investigate how the Living Cliffe Scheme was working.

We had our misgivings, as most would agreed there is a lot of traffic and parking there for a designated “pedestrian zone” that was intended to not carry through-traffic.

We have approached the council with the findings.

For anyone else interested in reading the report, click here (PDF).

The Cliffe High Street conundrum

Artists impression for proposed plan

An artist’s impression from the development stage of the Living Cliffe Scheme. Note the complete absence of motor vehicles, and wide pavements.

Back in May, members of Cycle Lewes, working with members of Lewes Living Streets and residents of Cliffe, did a survey of usage of the Cliffe High St pedestrian zone.

We* have been busy collating the data, corresponding with various parties and writing a report. We hope to start presenting the information soon, and energising the campaign.

In the meantime, the past few months have also seen a very dynamic comments thread on the same theme over on Streetlife, here. So if you have any experiences of problems on the Cliffe pedestrian zone get involved with that thread, or if you don’t like to be quite so public, do email us here on cyclelewes@hotmail.co.uk.


*When I say we, I mean Sheila – thank you Sheila for all the work.

New Lewes station cycle hub officially opened

Using the parking racks

If you follow Cycle Lewes’s Twitter feed, you’ll know we’ve been following the progress of the new cycle parking hub at Lewes railway station. Now, about seven months since work began, the hub has finally, officially been opened.

Blazing sun shone down on a small ceremony that took place this afternoon at the hub. Very unlike earlier this week when cold, wind and rain had forced the postponement of the official opening of the new section of the Ringmer-Malling path!

The new hub is located in the station car park area on the Pinwell Road side of the tracks, under Station Road and can be seen from the bridge, at the west end of the station.

Repair station and pump

The hub offers dry, secure parking for 100 bikes. It uses the space previously employed for about eight cars. As most cars are driven by commuters, one-to-a-car, this isn’t a bad exchange rate – parking for 100 journeys by bike compared to eight journeys by car. Even by some freak chance each car had a driver and three passengers, that would still only be 32 compared to 100. (We hope that the council learns from this efficient use of space to put more cycle parking in other car parks around town, notably at Needlemakers.)

Lucy Dance, the Sustrans officer who works to encourage more school journeys on bicycle, was there with a group of local schoolchildren, who demonstrated how the bike racks work. They’re double-decker affairs, with the top level ones pulled down with a big red handle: pretty self-explanatory.

Scanning the Key

The hub is equipped with a pump, a tool station and, for those concerned with security, CCTV. Indeed, to even enter – and exit – the hub you need to swipe a keycard. This is Southern Railway’s “The Key”. Those already registered on the Southern website can request one immediately. If you’re not registered on the site, you can register for The Key here.

It’s free, and ideal for commuters and regular users of the station, though it may be a bit convoluted for casual users. Thankfully, the station’s “120 existing cycle spaces will remain in use.”

Bikes vs Cars Film Screening

On Sunday 14 June, Cycle Lewes, Dr Bike, the Depot Cinema and the Lewes Hike and Bike festival are collaborating to put on a screening of Bikes vs Cars. This documentary, which has recently been shown at select venues across the UK, explores the often confrontational nature of roads, highlighting both challenges facing policymakers and potential solutions to their problems.

Following the film there will be a discussion on the topics that the film covers.

Dr Bike be also be on hand, so bring your bikes to be repaired by qualified bicycle mechanics (free labour) – more info

Refreshments available

Screening Info

Date: Sunday 14 June

Time: Doors open 13:00. Film screening starts 14:00. Discussion approx 15:45 – 17:00.

Location: The Harveys Depot, Pinwell Road, Lewes (opposite the station car park)

Cost: FREE!

You can view the trailer for the film below:

Three Quick Wins for our new councillors

Published in the Sussex Express, 22 May 2015

On 7 May, Lewes and the surrounding area went to the polls to elect a brand new District Council and a brand new Town Council. As these begin to take shape, we at Cycle Lewes thought it would be a good idea to share three ideas that were generated by Cycle Lewes members at our AGM in April.

1. More parking. The new cycle parking opposite the Law Courts and the forthcoming station have been an excellent start to improving cycle parking in Lewes, however more can still be done. We want to see every car park in town allocate at least one car parking space to a cycle shelter. The Needlemakers and Mountfield Road car parks are destinations for many suburban journeys, yet there are no appropriate cycle facilities present. Furthermore, these new stands must be of a ‘cycle only’ design – avoiding the current situation where the new shelter behind the magistrates’ court is constantly used as the new Waitrose trolley park.

2. New signage. The existing signage for those cycling into and around Lewes is awful. There are four off-road cycle routes out of town, allowing access to the countryside in a child-friendly environment, but nothing telling would-be users of their existence. We would like to see cycle-oriented maps covering the whole area in the town centre and at the rail station, as well as consistent signposting of the routes towards Firle, Falmer, Ringmer and Kingston. Signage also needs improving to show all road users where cyclists are allowed to cycle, including the contraflow through Cliffe High Street and adjacent to the play area in Bell Lane recreation area.

3. The Neighbourhood Plan is currently being developed by Lewes Town Council and will outline the future of Lewes – from housing developments to energy. Considering future cycling provision now will allow future infrastructure to be designed with all road users in mind.

These ideas are all achievable by our new District or Town council and we call on our elected representatives to start as they mean to go on. Making these small changes would be of enormous benefit to cyclists in the town and be a step in the right direction for active transport in Lewes.

Written by Dan Goodchild

What have the parliamentary candidates got to say about cycling? Part 3: the Greens.

We asked all the parliamentary candidates for Lewes their thoughts on cycling and cycling related issues. Last week we had a response from Labour, this week from the Lib Dems, but we’ve only just heard from the Greens’ Alfie Stirling, on the evening of polling day.

This is what he has to say:

“Thank you for contacting me to ask for my views on cycling, and I apologise for the delay in replying.

The Green Party has the most ambitious plans of any party for supporting cycling. Cycling is on the first page of our manifesto, and is integral to our whole approach to transport. We recognise the multiple benefits to health & happiness of cycling, as well as knowing that to cut our carbon emissions we need to change to cleaner transport.

We want a different future; as the manifesto puts it: ‘Imagine being able to leave your car in the garage – or not needing one at all… because reliable, affordable public transport, coupled with safe, clean, welcoming streets for walking and cycling meets your transport needs.’ We’d like to make that dream into the real world.

How to do that? We want to spend £30 per head on cycling infrastructure, by far the most of any party. This is far and beyond the Lib-Dem aim of only £10 per head (and above the estimated Dutch expenditure of £20 per head). In addition to infrastructure, we would create safer roads by changing the culture of road justice to one where car drivers should be presumed liable for injuries to cyclists. We would require lorries to be fully equipped with technology so they are aware of bicycles. We’d like an Active Travel Bill that works towards making streets across the country healthy and safe places for people to cycle and walk, and for children to play; making cycling integral to town planning; developing cycle networks that extend into rural areas.

In Lewes, we’d like to see a proper investment in cycling; cycle paths in the town but also extending to nearby villages; facilities for people to park their bikes safely near their homes and on the streets; street improvements done with cyclists in mind. As a key principle, we’d like to ensure that local cyclists, such as people in Cycle Lewes, are properly consulted when cycle infrastructure is proposed.

As you may well know, in Brighton, the Green-led council has created the largest connected 20mph zone in the country, which led to casualties falling by a massive 19%. The council has also introduced cycle priority at junctions, some proper cycle lanes, and cycle contraflow lanes, alongside new cycle hubs at the station and “floating” bus stops. There is more that can be done to make Brighton into a cycle-haven, but even these first measures have led to an 11% increase in daily cycle journeys. Vote for the Green Party tomorrow and we could do even better for cycling in Lewes.”

Thanks Mr Stirling.

What have the parliamentary candidates got to say about cycling? Part 2: the Lib Dems.

Cycle Lewes contacted our local parliamentary candidates for their thoughts on cycling and cycling-related issuesca. We had a response from Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle last week, which you can find here.

We’ve still not had anything from the Tories, UKIP or – surprisingly – the Greens, but now, a day before the actual election, here’s a response from the Liberal Democrats’ Norman Baker, the current MP for Lewes.

“Thank you for contacting me asking for my views on various cycling subjects, and I apologise for the delay in replying.

As you know, cycling is a great form of transport, with many benefits that can help tackle road congestion, curb air pollution and strengthen our economy. Not only is it green, cheap and efficient, but cycling can encourage a healthier lifestyle too. That is why I have been working hard to improve conditions for cyclists on our roads, not least as a cyclist myself.

I am pleased to say that our Lib Dem Election Manifesto included a commitment if Lib Dems form part of the next Government, towards implementing the recommendations of the “Get Britain Cycling” report, which includes £10 a head annual public expenditure within existing budgets to allow for greater investment in cycle lanes, cycle safety measures and cycle parking areas. I also support our options for an intercity cycleway along the HS2 route, as part of the overall budget for the project.

We have introduced a new law that requires the Government to produce a cycling and walking investment strategy that will set out what goals we want to achieve and how much support the Government will provide. We also want to introduce to introduce a Green Transport Act, one of five new green laws, that will contain a measure to update planning laws to ensure that new developments are designed around walking, cycling and public transport.

Whist a Minister at the Department for Transport, cycling came within my portfolio, and I helped ensure that the Coalition spent more on cycling than the previous Government. Including match funding, we invested £375m into cycling between 2011 and 2015, compared with £200m under Labour from 2005-10. Our continued support for the Bikeability scheme will allow more school pupils to start cycling too.

I also secured £159m of cycling funding in February 2012 to help create better cycle links for communities, improve cycle facilities at railway stations, including a £225,000 grant to a project to improve local cycling and green travel at Lewes station incorporating a cycle hub for 200, as well as a more cycle-friendly layout at road junctions.

Whilst I was Transport minister, I created the Local Sustainable Transport Fund which allocated £1bn for new projects supporting walking and cycling, as well as bus, rail and other green transport infrastructure projects. You can find more information about the Local Sustainable Transport Fund here, and a list of the projects given funding from 2015 here. I want to see a further round of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund in the next Parliament, to help support the construction and improvement of things like on-and-off road cycle paths, junction and crossing improvements.

There is no doubt in my mind that improving our environment and increasing the number of people walking can provide significant benefits to our health. If we cut air pollution, we will have fewer problems with asthma and bronchitis. If we open up more sports facilities and encourage people to cycle or walk more, we can tackle obesity and reduce heart problems, so doing more on this makes sense.

I am pleased to say that it has been Lib Dem councillors who have been at the forefront of many successful campaigns to make residential streets 20mph zones within my constituency, however, I think we should go further. We want all new roads in residential developments to have a speed limit of 20mph.

We also want to encourage councils to give active consideration to introducing 20mph speed limits in residential areas where they are not already in place, and make a minister in the Department for Transport responsible for working with councils on the conversion to 20mph limits in residential zones, reporting annually on the progress made. I pushed for East Sussex County Council to implement a Cycling and Walking Strategy for the areas of Lewes, Newhaven and Seaford, and they are currently in the process of developing such a strategy, which will support the ESCC Local Transport Plan 2011-2026. Ensuring that everyone feels safe on our streets is clearly important. That is why I want to see the next Government take action and build upon the good work to support pedestrians and cyclists that I put in place whilst a Transport minister.

Finally, I have also attached a copy of a recent article from the Daily Telegraph which highlights our party policies on cycling, and mentions that I fought for cycling issues whilst a government minister at the Department for Transport, and I also signed up for the VoteBike PPC survey, giving my replies to their questions on cycling issues as well.”

Thanks Mr Baker.

What have the parliamentary candidates got to say about cycling? Part 1: Labour.

Cycle Lewes contacted the offices of local candidates for the upcoming general election with a series of questions regarding cycling and cycling related issues.

Disappointingly, only Labour has responded so far. Indeed, it’s no secret that some parties don’t even had any sustainable transport or cycling-related policies, somethat that’s deeply shortsighted in this day and age.

Anyway, this is what we got from Labour candidate Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

“Thank you for contacting me recently regarding cycling.

I agree we need to do more to make cycling safer and more accessible. Cycling can offer real benefits to our environment, our economy and people’s health and I know that many local people feel strongly about the need to promote cycling in our area.

If elected I will consider carefully about joining the all party group on this matter to promote cycling.

I have been disappointed that the current Government have not made cycling a higher transport priority over the last five years and have failed to provide the certainty and focus we need on this.

A Labour Government, however, will develop a National Cycling Action Plan to promote cycling and will reintroduce national standards to reduce road deaths and serious injuries, which were dropped by the current Government. We will also ensure that large road vehicles are adequately equipped to reduce the risk of collision and that all children and young people are educated in cycling safety.

Labour will take wider action to reduce road deaths and injuries, including encouraging local authorities to adopt 20mph limits on residential roads where appropriate and introducing cycle safety assessments on all new transport schemes. We will also devolve control over transport spending to local authorities so that communities can better deliver on local priorities.

We will work to improve the condition of local roads, which have been allowed to deteriorate significantly since 2010. This deterioration has made conditions more difficult for cyclists.

Campaigns such as ‘Cities Fit for Cycling’ and organisations including Sustrans and CTC have really helped to raise awareness of cycling safety over recent years. I believe we now need a Labour Government to take this forward and to make cycling a key transport priority.

I have responded to CTC, the national cycling charity who contacted me with their survey and my answers to their questions are outlined below. The policy measures called for are in line with the recommendations of the parliamentary ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report, which has received strong cross-party backing.

1. Ambition – I will support measures to increase levels of cycling to 10% of trips by 2025 and 25% by 2050.

2. Funding – I will support an average government spend of at least £10 per person per year on cycling.

3. Design standards – I will support action to create consistently high design standards for cycling in all highway and traffic schemes, new developments and planned road maintenance work.

4. Safety – I will you support measures to improve cycle safety by strengthening road traffic law and its enforcement and revising the Highway Code.

5. Positive promotion – I will support the positive promotion of cycling, including cycle skills training, for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.”

Thanks Mr Russell-Moyle.

Cycle Lewes 2015 AGM and public meeting

Cycle Lewes’s AGM and public meeting is taking place at 7.30pm on Thursday 16 April.

Everyone is welcome.

Come along to discuss how to Get Lewes Cycling: what you’d like to see changed or improved for cycling in and around Lewes.

You’ll find it upstairs at the John Harvey Tavern, Bear Yard, off Cliffe High Street (behind Bill’s and Argos), BN7 2AN.

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