West Sussex County Council has cooled concerns that opening up a "chaotic" one-way road to cycling from both directions may cause confusion and incidents.
Barrington Road in Horsham, close to the town's train station, has been made a contraflow cycling route, allowing those on bicycles to ride in either direction, including against the flow of traffic on the one-way residential street. Sussex World reports that as there is on-street resident parking on both sides of the road, what is left of the road is already quite narrow.
The local news outlet heard from one resident who called the route "chaotic" as it is, but added that she is now "horrified" by the "confusing and worrying" layout that allows cyclists access in either direction.
"I was horrified because, as a driver, I just didn't understand it," she told the local press. "It's very confusing and worrying. As far back as I can remember, it has been a one-way road for cars. However, cyclists can currently go both ways in this road – and face oncoming traffic, with drivers who could be unaware that they will come face to face with cyclists."
Pictures of the updated road layout show the stop signs adapted to say 'except cycles', with a short stretch of unsegregated green cycle lane before the road narrows to around half its full width due to the parked vehicles.
The resident also expressed concern that people might expect cyclists to use the pavement instead.
However, West Sussex County Council was confident in the face of the complaints, a spokesperson saying similar layouts had "been introduced successfully" in other parts of the county and had been subject to all the necessary safety checks.
"The scheme in Barrington Road, Horsham, was delivered as part of the Local Transport Improvement Programme with the aim to improve cycle connectivity within the local area," they said. "This included the introduction of contraflow cycling, where cyclists are allowed to ride in both directions on a street that is one-way for cars.
"This was designed in accordance with the Department for Transport's cycle infrastructure design guidance and has been through stage 1 and stage 2 road safety audits and will be subject to a stage 3 audit on completion of the scheme. To ensure it is delivered safely it also includes new signage and road markings to alert drivers to the presence of contraflow cycling.
"Contraflow facilities have been introduced in other parts of West Sussex with success and is promoted by the West Sussex Walking and Cycling Strategy 2016 – 2026. The Highway Code rules 143, 144, 146 and 147 provide further guidance regarding behaviours of road users utilising these areas of the highway network."
Earlier this month, in nearby Brighton, a shocking video emerged showing multiple cyclists getting hit by "unaware" drivers on a contraflow cycle lane. It prompted campaigners to once again urge the Labour council to implement a car-free environment in the area.
At the other end of the country, in June, a new protected contraflow cycle lane opened in Darlington, with drivers spotted almost immediately parking their cars in it, while in August a motorist was captured on CCTV crashing into one of the new bollards, knocking it out of the ground.
Also this summer, in Manchester, cyclists slammed a "dreadful" contraflow cycle lane as an "accident waiting to happen" as the council opened the new 'door zone' infrastructure, complete with green paint to "heighten drivers' awareness".
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.