Scenes From My Commute

Lancing Boat Club

I was cycling my merry way home this evening as I usually do along the seafront from Brighton to Worthing. The Sturmey Archer 3 speed was ticking away like a pacemaker made for Bez from Happy Mondays and the sea breeze was slowly caressing my slowly dwindling hair. Just outside Worthing on the edge of Lancing Beach, I normally encounter this…….

It’s obviously a skip, but it was placed right in the middle of the cycle path to prevent access to the neighbouring greensward by Gypsies and Travelling folk who are despised in Britain slightly more than cyclists, although it’s a very close call. The Daily Mail rule of thumb is that cyclists don’t pay Road Tax (which hasn’t existed since 1937) but Travellers don’t pay any tax (allegedly). We ignore the fact that Vodafone and other large corporations get away with not paying their fair share to the tune of billions because in modern Britain its just easier to pick on minorities. Anyway, imagine my surprise when I came across this…..

The structure on the left already had the seating stripped out to remove the homeless people who would sleep there occasionally and had been given a shiny new coat of red, white and blue, I assume due to the forthcoming Jubilee celebrations. In the patch of brown where the skip was there is now a shiny new blue sculptural bollard  announcing that you are now entering or leaving Lancing Beach.

Unlike the other black columnar art installations you can see, there is nothing reflective at all on it. The picture above shows a bit more context – like the fact that cyclists following the path from Worthing have to do a 90 degree right turn (there is a high white wall just set back to the right) so as they accelerate away, provided they haven’t hit any oncoming cyclists or pedestrians, they can collide with the art installation. The words ‘Lancing Beach’ can be the last thing they remember as they gracefully slip into unconsciousness, with the gentle crashing of waves to keep them company. It’s all part of the rich kaleidoscope that is riding a bicycle in Britain.

14 thoughts on “Scenes From My Commute”

  1. I can’t believe that anyone would be so stupid to put a difficult-to-see metal object bang in the middle of a busy and popular cycle path!

    We need to get this into the local papers, so that this dangerous obstacle can be moved to somewhere not in the middle of busy bicycle traffic.

    Actually, since this is in West Sussex, the “county that hates cyclists the most”, I can believe it.

    1. It gets better! It’s going to be a real struggle to get through the gaps either side with a trailer. Try it out!

  2. Well, dunno if you noticed, but that green patch means “shared use” so cyclists should really be slowing down to take into account the fact that pedestrians are even more vulnerable than they are.

    Of course, all cyclists take great care of patches of colour on the ground, just like the red patches accompanied by a handy and legible sign “cyclists dismount” by the kiosk and yacht club. I can’t possibly believe that cyclists would consciously disregard such safety issues, so must conclude than none of them can read.

    Taking out the benches from the covered area was to increase safety too – and rightly so. I dare say you’d complain to the mum if you found a toddler wrapped round your spokes when you were just speeding round the blind corner.

    1. I like the way you assume I speed round blind corners and around pedestrians. I always take great care, especially as I’m the proud father to a toddler myself in the same way I’d expect the same respect in return. The sculpture has been placed in a way that makes it nigh on impossible for parents towing children in trailers to get through. I don’t suppose that will stop your rather jaundiced view.

    2. The trouble with the green and red is that they mean different things at different places along the Worthing to Shoreham route (well done WSCC!). The original usage on this cycle route was green for cycle path, red for shared use, as you see at the Worthing end.

      CYCLISTS DISMOUNT signs have no legal status, and are merely advisory. There is no legal requirement for people to get off their bicycles here. I have no idea why those two stretches are singled out for no cycling (on a National Cycle Route!!), as there are other places where collisions with dogs and children are much more likely, especially on Beach Green. At the Sailing Club you need to be wary of the side road, but once past that the fences prevent dogs or children suddenly crossing the path, making it very safe.

      The trouble with the new sculpture is that we now have a new hard obstruction bang in the middle of the path. So there’s less space, and less opportunity, to pass pedestrians with a nice wide berth. There’s no problem with speeding here, the 90-degree bend onto the narrow roadside pavement takes care of that: get that wrong and you’ll be run over by a car as sure as eggs is eggs.

      1. Re: Lancing’s ‘red bits’ – I’d suggest that the ‘logic’ behind the one by the sailing club was the junction with Shopsdam Road (from the west, hidden by a wall which should go soon) and the path width outside the toilet when the bench is occupied, and at Beach Green to ‘protect’ customers of the Bluebird cafe / Murphy’s bar / whatever next.
        IMHO ‘Caution’ signs on the path would be more useful!

    1. I like the way you automatically think that I don’t. I understand it perfectly well thank you very much as it’s nice to stop, have a drink and watch the boats, especially on a Wednesday. If I’m in a hurry to get to work, I’ll always favour the road as ‘Cyclists Dismount’ is like asking motorists to get out and push. It’s a shame others don’t understand which is annoying but not deadly. However, I’m not here to defend the actions of other cyclists because that’s absurd in the same way I don’t speak for all motorists when I drive. Thanks for reading but now you can scuttle off back to the letters page of the Worthing Herald and moan about parking or something.

    2. CYCLISTS DISMOUNT is an advisory sign (blue, and rectangular, not red-bordered) and has no legal status. They’re generally used to warn cyclists of potential hazards, but the Department for Transport now recommends against their use as they’re so often mis-understood.

  3. And now (18 June), thanks to yet more ‘travellers’ on Beach Green, the eastern end of the Shoreham-Lancing path is blocked with piles of road ‘scrapings’ to the extent that it’s impassable on a narrow trike (or trailer, or wheelchair?) without carrying 😦

    1. But has now been ‘sorted’ with a bit of path clearance and a collection of yellow barriers. These have the great advantage of being visible, unlike the (mostly black) posts that usually occupy this location.
      Wonder how the council bin lorry is going to get through, though? Maybe Adur will subcon the dog poo etc. collection to the current occupiers of Beach Green….

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