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London to Brighton gridlock after traffic blocked event cycle lane — British Heart Foundation insists charity ride had "positive feedback"

More than 14,000 riders raising money for heart research took part in Sunday's ride from London to the South Coast following a two-year Covid-induced hiatus...

Some of the British Heart Foundation's London to Brighton riders were faced with scenes of gridlock as they rode the final metres of the 54-mile charity ride on Sunday after a lack of segregation meant traffic filled a lane designated for the event.

In scenes seen in a video shot by local news outlet The Argus, and shared on Facebook, riders negotiating the final stages in Brighton can be seen weaving between stationary vehicles in both lanes.

Signs were put up to inform road users the left-hand lane was supposed to be used by the event, however it seems a lack of segregation meant by the time the riders seen in the video reached the Grand Parade it was full of traffic.

Despite the ugly pictures, Elizabeth Tack, operations lead at the British Heart Foundation said they received "positive feedback" from event control about traffic flow at the scene and the police reported "no incidents".

"We had positive feedback from the ground and event control said that the aquarium roundabout was working well and allowing all traffic to flow east and west when safe to do so. Police who were present on the ground at this point reported no incidents to us in event control," she said.

"While we're not able to close the Grand Parade, we have a dedicated cone line for cyclists for the last 250 metres of the ride.

"To help relieve traffic in the lead up to Brighton Pier, we started pausing cyclists from 9am at the top of Coldean Lane and the junction with Ditchling Road to minimise the flow of riders coming into town.

"We work closely with Brighton and Hove City Council to minimise any disruption caused by our London to Brighton Bike," she concluded, before adding that the event is organised following a "thorough" consultation with the city council and other relevant authorities.

"A small section of the event route on Grand Parade, between Kingswood Street to the Marlborough and Old Steine junction, did not have a section of road dedicated to the London to Brighton Bike Ride," a spokesperson from the council explained.

"Working with organisers, we agreed a route that we felt would minimise disruption through the new-look Valley Gardens. As we do with all events in the city, we will review any issues raised with organisers during a thorough debrief and agree any changes needed for next year's bike ride."

The popular charity ride returned to the roads of the south of England on Father's Day following a two-year hiatus during the pandemic.

More than 14,000 riders, including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan took part in the event, which raises money for the British Heart Foundation's research into preventing, diagnosing and curing heart and circulatory diseases.

At the finish, Khan said he had been "delighted" to take part, and "a fantastic crowd gave us riders a much-needed boost for the final push."

Jason Cooper, drummer for The Cure, raised more than £9,000 and took part in memory of his former drum tech, Paul 'Ricky' Welton, who died in 2019.

"It was a fantastic day," he told event staff. "The atmosphere was amazing, especially the crowds coming into Brighton cheering us on. I am so proud to be raising money for the BHF in memory of my great friend Ricky. He was a superb band member, and we shared some great moments together. But more importantly, he was a just a lovely guy. He was taken too soon, and we all miss him dearly."

London to Brighton riders have raised more than £70 million for the charity in its 45 years of running, with the BHF's Chief Executive concluding they are "thrilled to be back".

Did you ride the London to Brighton? How was your experience of the day? Let us know in the comments...

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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7 comments

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Bertie007 | 2 years ago
2 likes

This was an excellent organised event. I had very few traffic issues and you should expect to share the road with cars at some point. An excellent event and hope to ride again. 

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essexian | 2 years ago
3 likes

I did the ride and up until the last few hundred metres had no problems with the traffic. However, the last bit was a bit of a bun fight as drivers seemed to think they had the right to be where they wanted to be and bugger any cyclist who dared get in their way: I saw a number of shouting matches which of course served no purpose.

 

It was possible to bypass all the stationary cars by simply going to the right and overtaking the cars in the oncoming lane. Nothing illegal about that and its far safer than fighting to get space when none is going to be given.

 

Good ride, well organised and happy to get up Ditchling Beacon with only one stop when my chain slipped out of gear. The road surfaces along the route however….terrible, although I did enjoy the 43.8mph I did down the final hill: my fastest ever speed. 

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Steve K | 2 years ago
11 likes

Anyone else suspect that had the lane been properly segregated, we'd have seen pictures on the traffic jam and told it was the result of the cycle lane?

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Steve K | 2 years ago
0 likes

Well the title of the facebook video from the newspaper already has that in mind. 

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Steve K replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
5 likes

Ah, yes, missed that.  It's some time since I've driven to Brighton, but as I recall, the traffic round there is normally so free flowing...

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Steve K | 2 years ago
1 like

In the comments for the article, one mentioned why wasn't everyone using the very expensive bike lane on the other side of the road.

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daviddale replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
0 likes

The cycle lane on the other side of the road doesn't link up to anything yet, you'd be stuck on the wrong side of the road and a bunch of pedestrian crossings to navigate. They are planning to redo the roundabout by the pier with lights and cycle lanes to link all that up at some point. Argus readers are not happy about that either but then every issue in Brighton is somehow the fault of cycle lanes in that esteemed publication.

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