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Shocking video shows multiple cyclists getting hit by "unaware" drivers on a contraflow cycle lane

"How did this junction remain unchanged?", asked cyclists as footage makes campaigners renew calls to ban cars in Brighton city centre...

A video on social media showing drivers "unaware" that they are crossing a contraflow cycle lane, marked by red paint on the road, and knocking down not just cyclists, but also scooters and motorcycle riders, and even running into other cars in Brighton city centre has left people shocked, with campaigners once again urging the Labour council to implement a car-free environment in the area.

The multiple collisions on Church Street were caught on video by a shop owner's camera in the space of just a couple of months, at the intersection between Portland Street and Spring Gardens.

road.cc stalwart Jo Burt (better known as VecchioJo), corroborated the dangers on the street, saying that "it's a shockingly badly designed bit of infrastructure".

"The road is one way all the way up the hill but there’s a contra flow bike lane all of the way down. It's dangerous at every junction but this is the worst," he added.

> Turning right “most dangerous manoeuvre” for cyclists, resulting in over 10,000 collisions in ten years, new study finds

Crashmap, which logs collision data, shows seven crashes between 2017 and 2021, with nearby junctions having contraflow bike lanes on North Laine such as New Road, and Trafalgar Street and Blackman Street, also being hotspots for similar crashes.

Nader, who posted the video on Twitter, however wrote that this was a "daily occurrence", reports Brighton and Hove News. He added that the most recent collision was captured on the camera this Tuesday.

Church Street and Portland Street intersection, Brighton (Google Maps)

Church Street and Portland Street intersection, Brighton (Google Maps)

He said: "Cars [drivers] absolutely do not look right when coming out of Spring Gardens. They sometimes don’t even realise it is a give way junction and you can often witness someone go straight through.

"In the past month I’ve witnessed two people turn into Church Street to go the incorrect way down the one way road. I’m not sure if the building site is obscuring the signage or if it’s getting lost in the visual noise.

"Thankfully there haven’t been any serious injuries yet."

> Cars to be banned from road along Brighton seafront to allow people to exercise safely

A spokesman for Bricycles, a campaign group for cyclists in Brighton and Hove, called on the council to ban cars from the North Laine entirely. He said: "This whole area in the city centre should be a car-free environment.

"This was the number one recommendation from Labour’s own Climate Assembly in 2020. The Labour council now needs to get it in place as soon as possible."

Church Street, Brighton (Google Maps)

The Labour-dominated Brighton & Hove City Council has come under fire by campaigners in recent months for not showing support for cycling policies and described as being "actively against active travel".

Just a week ago, cyclists had questioned the development, or lack thereof, about the cycle lane on Marine Parade, next to the pavement, from the Marina to the Palace Pier, for which the former Green council had secured a £1.2 million funding for in May.

Jamie Lloyd, former Green Councillor and lead for Active Travel, had told road.cc: "Now that the anti-active travel Labour Council are in full control, they will almost certainly not do anything to deliver on that."

> "Actively against active travel": Brighton's Labour council accused of "wilfully destroying cycling infrastructure"

The council was also quizzed if there were any plans to make the junction in North Laine safer, to which the chair of the Transport and Sustainability Committee, Councillor Trevor Muten replied: "I’m shocked and disturbed by the contents of this video, and my thoughts go out to everyone who was affected by these collisions.

Councillor Muten urged people involved in these collisions or those who witnessed them to report them to the Operation Crackdown, the joint initiative run by Sussex Police and Sussex Sustainability Research Programme to investigate anti-social driving.

He said that they analysed the collision data based on collisions reported to the police that result in an injury, adding that he believed it could be possible that they were not made aware of "some of the incidents" shown in the video.

He continued: "As part of our strategy to improve road safety in the city, have also recently introduced a new process for prioritising safety-related improvements. This will take into account other factors beyond collision data alone. One of these is around the perceived risks to pedestrians and cyclists.

"We are committed to making further improvements and investing in high quality infrastructure which makes on our city accessible, enjoyable and safe for all."

A Brighton resident and cyclist, Sarah Forbes, meanwhile, questioned Muten on social media: "Will there be immediate action to improve this junction? I really didn't want to cycle down here after seeing this but realised it would add so much time to my journey, especially without VG3 link either. Hard to keep going with those images running through my mind."

Another person tagged Muten and the council on social media, saying: "We desperately need improved and safer cycle infrastructure, not more delays."

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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32 comments

Avatar
IanMSpencer | 5 months ago
1 like

Drivers round here don't count stop lines as compulsory - they like to use the cycle lane as a sort of advanced stop line.

1 Jacobean Ln
https://maps.app.goo.gl/bn2b8jpDypPPsgNT7

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pockstone replied to IanMSpencer | 5 months ago
1 like

When I learnt to drive Stop signs were a huge thing: Come to full stop, handbrake on, look in EVERY direction, prepare to manouevre across junction, look AGAIN and don't cross the line 'til all clear in every direction. Not so now.

In the space of a few weeks I've had four near misses/drivers pull out across the front of me at this junction as I approached from the left. Three times in a car, (one of whom played follow-my-leader across me as I was setting off from an emergency stop and intemperate blast of the horn avoiding the car before him!) the last on my bike who drove straight at me as I was approaching from the left and indicating a right turn. Stopping at a Stop sign seems to be as optional as giving way at a Give Way sign of late.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@53.8869254,-1.7362364,3a,75y,94.78h,87.03t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sGIV3PjYiE5Xg2S1SCed-6Q!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

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Sriracha | 5 months ago
4 likes

A continuous pavement might help, along with suitable signage. Motorists who ignore the change in levels are welcome to repair their suspension at their leisure.

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Andrewbanshee | 5 months ago
4 likes

Considering I have almost been driven into by drivists entering a roundabout pretty much every week shows that even when I am where it should expected it still isn't good enough. So no wonder a contraflow is causing so much trouble for the dim, barely able to take their foot off the pedal, drivists.

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bikeman01 | 5 months ago
1 like

That looks like any normal junction. I dont know the area and struggle to understand why so many bad drivers appear to be exiting a side road without looking. 

How is it a bad design?

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Yorkshie Whippet replied to bikeman01 | 5 months ago
2 likes

I am with you. That's more careless driving than bad design

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Fignon's ghost | 5 months ago
2 likes

You can't entirely blame the motorists in this situation. The council MUST CHANGE the layout before someone dies.

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chrisonabike replied to Fignon's ghost | 5 months ago
1 like
Fignon's ghost wrote:

You can't entirely blame the motorists in this situation.

With you to the extent that Horseman points out that latterly it isn't as clear as it should be that this is a junction at all.

Happy to entirely blame the motorists who drove into other cars or motorbikes though.

Still would have a hard look at the design here too.

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bikeman01 replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
2 likes

It looks pretty clear that its a T junction from the dotted lines seperating the side road from the main carriage way. The cycle way even has red tarmac. And theres a bollard in the middle.

Are Brighton drivers just morons?

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chrisonabike replied to bikeman01 | 5 months ago
2 likes

Hoarseman notes the paint's now worn and signage is bent (that'll be those cyclists...) Some drivers don't seem to have looked or stopped at all. So perhaps we've got to sadly accept the result of our system is a fair percentage of unskilled or inattentive motorists and make this a really really clear STOP here.

In an ideal world it would also have cameras to help get the nerveless clowns and the intoxicated off the roads.

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 5 months ago
4 likes

Surely some of those drivers were not just 'unaware' but distracted; by their mobile phones or whatever? 

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Flintshire Boy | 5 months ago
4 likes

 

Jay zus fork, that is unbelievable.

.

Designed by professionals, yeah?

.

God save us.

.

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chrisonabike replied to Flintshire Boy | 5 months ago
1 like

Clearly the professionals were unprepared for the level of foresight and observation that can be expected from some folks who've passed a driving test.

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised?  There may have been some small noises in the last few years that views may have shifted a fraction at the government level... But I bet it's too subtle and likely too recent for councillors to suspect a change in the prevailing wind.  And they're the ones signing off on these things.  So largely down to them to pass on to their designers / engineers that "safe cycling provision" isn't quite the killing in-joke it used to be.

I'll say this though Flintshire - if I was involved in road building or safety and hadn't looked at road.cc in the last 15 years I'd fire myself!

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eburtthebike | 5 months ago
9 likes

Sad to see that labour are no different to the tories when it comes to active travel.  Or anything else come to that.

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Safety | 5 months ago
12 likes

I agree with other comments on the standard of driving issue.

It would be interesting to know that even with the availability of good quality video evidence how many of these drivers were charged with careless never mind dangerous driving? Or more likely were they dealt with simply through car insurance policies?

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VIPcyclist | 5 months ago
14 likes

WTF! The give way is clear. Zero excuse there. Turning into oncoming traffic WTF! Driving without due care and attention.

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HoarseMann replied to VIPcyclist | 5 months ago
7 likes
VIPcyclist wrote:

The give way is clear.

In some of those clips the give way lines are very visible. However, the most recent streetview shows that they're badly worn. The 'cycles crossing' sign is twisted and there's no give-way sign.

I think this needs to be made a 'stop' with signage and a 'cycle lane' sign underneath the warning triangle:

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Sriracha replied to HoarseMann | 5 months ago
2 likes
HoarseMann wrote:

I think this needs to be made a 'stop' with signage and a 'cycle lane' sign underneath the warning triangle

guaranteed some/many motorists will interpret that to mean cyclists must stop and then turn left!

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Rendel Harris replied to Sriracha | 5 months ago
8 likes

One of my most memorable arguments was with a taxi driver (who subsequently got three points and a £100 fine for the close pass that started the argument) who claimed that "Narrow lanes do not overtake cyclists" actually meant "Narrow lanes, do not overtake, cyclists"!

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hawkinspeter replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
6 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

One of my most memorable arguments was with a taxi driver (who subsequently got three points and a £100 fine for the close pass that started the argument) who claimed that "Narrow lanes do not overtake cyclists" actually meant "Narrow lanes, do not overtake, cyclists"!

Sounds a bit like this warning sign

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bikeman01 replied to HoarseMann | 5 months ago
1 like

Agreed, the give way is not quite so clear from the drivers view point.

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EraserBike | 5 months ago
8 likes

And this is exactly why I avoid painted cycle lanes. More dangerous that just cycling on the road.

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AReadman | 5 months ago
7 likes

They really need to do something, otherwise the council leader might end up in a corporate manslaughter charge.

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Car Delenda Est | 5 months ago
13 likes

Can confirm this is a great route if you like cars and pedestrians cutting across you, without looking, on a steep downhill.

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cyclisto | 5 months ago
5 likes

I never understood why contraflow lanes are considered to be safe when they add extra complexity.

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chrisonabike replied to cyclisto | 5 months ago
4 likes

IIRC the stats show that they're not a big safety issue.  However this is the UK so a) there isn't a safe street design we can't stuff up and b) our drivers are trained not to look for cycles.  Repetition trains them to just look for big motor vehicles, or very slow pedestrians.

This design does seems unergnomic to me though.  Unfortunately in most of the UK the priority is to have *any* half-decent cycle connections for "normal people" cycling (it's that vicious circle - without numbers of people no authority will find the money, space or see a need to provide for it).  Hence contraflow lanes as a cheap workaround.

* There are some places where motor traffic is sufficiently infrequent and well-behaved (really slow) that this works perfectly well.  I recall a cycle trip in Belgium though where they'd made a two-way cycle lane on the right of a main road (not urban) - cycling towards trucks with a couple of feet of paint between us was... an experience.

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brooksby | 5 months ago
20 likes
Quote:

They sometimes don’t even realise it is a give way junction and you can often witness someone go straight through.

That was my takeaway too.  The contraflow cycle lane is actually a bit of a red herring - a lot of those collisions appear to be a result of motorists just going straight across without looking in either direction...

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 5 months ago
8 likes

Claim that surprise discovery of bear excrement in woods is related to existence of path through woods?

Short - some drivers don't give way at give-way lines.  Some drivers don't look at all before making manouvers.

Nothing specific to do with cyclists or cycle infra as far as I can see...

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HoldingOn replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
10 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

Nothing specific to do with cyclists or cycle infra as far as I can see...

No, but it does a really good job of highlighting the vulnerability of cyclists (and to a lesser extent, motorcyclists)

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OnYerBike replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
5 likes

There is some terrible driving that is entirely unrelated to the cycling infrastructure, but a few of the clips it appears to me that the drivers did check (albeit only briefly) to their left but failed to check in the direction of the contra-flow. 

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