London to Brighton bike race slammed as riders stuck in city centre traffic
A CHARITY said it received positive feedback about its cycle event despite huge traffic jams leaving riders having to weave through cars.
Onlookers said the last leg of the British Heart Foundation’s London to Brighton bike ride was an embarrassment.
Cyclists reached the Grand Parade in Brighton to find they had no clear run to the home stretch in Madeira Drive, as the proposed cycle lane was filled with cars.
Signage was put up to notify drivers that they should keep the left lane free, but this was not marked out with cones, so was ignored.
It led spectators to question why the British Heart Foundation and Brighton and Hove City Council had not ensured a specific route for the riders.
Elizabeth Tack, operations lead at the British Heart Foundation, said: “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 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.
“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.
“We work closely with Brighton and Hove City Council to minimise any disruption caused by our London to Brighton Bike Ride.”
Elizabeth said that although the charity understands Sunday is a busy time for the area, there is a “thorough” consultation process with Brighton Highways, Brighton and Hove Buses, and the city council ahead of the event.
She also thanked the riders who took part and those cheering them on, as the money raised will help the 7.6 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory disease.
Today is the day! 🥳 We can’t believe that after a three-year hiatus, we are finally welcoming you back to our iconic city to coast bike ride. 🚴♀️🚴Thank you to everyone who has fundraised for our cause. Good luck and we’ll see you on the finish line! 🏆#LondontoBrighton pic.twitter.com/xLEzENtGRJ
— BHF (@TheBHF) June 19, 2022
Police Community Support Officers were seen attempting to direct traffic into the correct lane when joining Grand Parade at the traffic lights from St Peter’s Place, though they were unsuccessful.
Despite the huge traffic jam, the city council said the route was chosen to avoid large disruptions.
A council spokesman said: “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.
“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.”
One cyclist was overheard saying that he was disappointed to cycle the 54-mile route from Clapham Common, only to end his journey in stuck in traffic.
Sunday’s event marked the return of the British Heart Foundation event, having been cancelled the two previous years due to the pandemic.