Pop-up cycle lane on Albion Way now open

The Albion Way pop-up cycle lane is now open.

The lane runs from Sainsbury’s up to Madeira Avenue and is designed to provide safe space for people on bikes.

Riding home from school on the new pop-up cycle lane

In May the Government called on councils to “make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians”.  An Emergency Active Travel Fund was set up which councils could bid for to provide space for safe, socially distanced travel.

West Sussex County Council successfully bid for money for seven schemes across the county, one being the Albion Way cycle lane.

The purpose of the emergency funding is to get people on bikes who aren’t already cycling and to do so with measures like protected cycle lanes and low-traffic neighbourhoods.

During the lockdown bike use rose by over 380% on some days as people felt safe to venture out on the roads, often for the first time in years. People reported hearing birdsong, smelling clean air and feeling safe on our streets.

Now that motor traffic has returned to pre-lockdown levels the number of people cycling has fallen back to previous levels. This makes it imperative that we reconfigure our streets so that those without cars have a safe way to make essential journeys.

Trying out the new pop-up cycle lane

During the development of the Albion Way scheme the cycling forum provided feedback and we’re pleased that some of our ideas have been taken on board.

We are however disappointed that the scheme has been cut in half. Only the eastbound lane will be built leaving anyone who wants to return the same way with no protected lane. This will clearly make the scheme much less useful to people on bikes. You can’t imagine a road or a railway being built like this.

A protected cycleway along Albion Way (in both directions!) will provide a crucial “backbone” cycle route enabling people to travel safely east-west across the town.

As well as making our towns Covid-safe the emergency measures can help to create places where people want to linger and where children and families feel safe to venture out on two wheels.

Riding on the new pop-up cycle lane

In order to fulfil the Government requirement to make bike use a normal part of everyday life this must be just the first step. The Government expressly called for the pop-up schemes to be put in swiftly and for councils to monitor and adapt them as they went along.

Whenever there’s a change to the road layout there’s always some initial disruption. It takes time for people to adapt to the new layout and adjust their travel habits.

What improvements would you like to see? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Photos: Ruth Fletcher, Mark Treasure


  1. notakeencyclist says

    The pop up cycle lane is not being used and it only serves to create traffic congestion, increase pollution and risk of accidents with shoppers trying to enter or exit Waitrose or the Sainsbury roundabouts
    I dont see the point as it starts and ends on a busy town ring road but only serves a small section of road, so whilst I sit in traffic I then leave Horsham heading to Mannings Heath and find cyclists there who are slowing traffic and struggling up hills on a much longer stretch of road that has pavements that no one walks on!!!
    I appreciate the comments made by others and if you want to improve people’s views of cyclists then helping to have this removed would be appreciated by all residents off Horsham I am sure

    • A Horsham District resident says

      I think you make many excellent points. The congestion this lane is creating is affecting air quality in Horsham and contributing to global warming. The usage of the Lane is minimal so providing nowhere near a level of benefit to offset the pollution, even if you ignore the cost of time lost to congestion. I agree with the provision of good cycle lanes, but this is a knee jerk reaction to available funding and lacks joined up thinking. It needs to be removed immediately and thought given to the provision of a well signposted and properly designed network of cycle lanes.

  2. I am a long term resident of Horsham, keen cyclist ( 5500km so far this year) and vehicle driver.

    I strongly object to the current madness of the scheme being installed in Horsham town centre on the main ring road, and have written a letter of complaint to WSCC

    What is needed is joined up thinking from the cyclist perspective, not simply the wiping out of a complete vehicular lane with complete disregard to vehicular traffic and the congestion it will cause.

    There is already significant queueing occurring which will only lead to increased pollution, frustration and inevitable accidents.

    The scheme seems completely ridiculous

    As a keen cyclist I would not choose to use these new routes at all.

    Far better would be to provide through routes for cyclists through the centre of town, or using less trafficked routed, such as Black Horse Way etc.

    If you cycling was allowed through the centre from Worthinng Road to Springfield Road this would make far more sence by providing a remote route from vehicular traffic and at the same time not impose congestion from reduce driving lanes.

    Where the cycle lane crosses adjoing roads, such as London Road for example, it is not that clear who has the right of way. I’m sure we will see vehicles putlling out and then stopping, blocking the cycle lane, causing issues.
    I would almost feel safer riding with the traffc in the remaining lane, as there would be no conflict at all.

    I agree with many of the other points people have raised. I also think the cycle lane could be 2 way

  3. Hello. I love cycling and would love too see more bike lanes popping up. However, I think that adding one to Albion way does not make much sense, and here’s why: 1) Albion way is a road already very well designed for a specific purpose: to let motor vehicles flow AROUND the town centre and its public spaces, or into town centre car parks. Bikes do not need to take that route. The whole strength of bikes in town centres is that they allow people to get right up to the doors of the shop they want to go to, and past the doors of many other shops along the way, which also benefit from increased exposure. Diverting bikes onto a bypass makes no sense e as far as I am concerned. 2) There is already a very nice bike route, mostly away from other traffic, running from Sainsburys to the Causeway (along the top of Sainsburys car park). This should be better signposted and advertised, but otherwise it’s great. It follows a route East to West parallel to most of Albion way. 3) I used to live in London, and I remember the cycle superhighways being really transformative when they were brought in. I remember a key thing about these was that they were RADIAL. They were not ring roads or bypasses. They led directly from the outskirts to the town centre. Someone living in the suburbs found they suddenly had a clear convenient cycle route right to the centre of things, where they could take advantage of their vehicle’s small size and ease of parking. This suggests to me several better options for new cycle lanes. Any of the radial roads running through the large area of residential housing in the north of Horsham would benefit greatly from better and clearer cycling provision. I confess I don’t know that area well so there may be factors that make it unsuitable. I am just going by what worked for me in London. With cycling, the big challenge is not diverting them around the shopping areas. It is about making people feel safe from their doorstep to the doorstep of their destination. That means giving them space on those direct radial roads, not space on a bypass separated from their homes by great tracts of suburb which feel unsafe to traverse by bike. Anyway, I hope that makes sense : )

    • Francis Vernon says

      Thanks for joining the conversation, Luke and you make some interesting comments. And there are always debates over what we should prioritise.

      I don’t think it’s an ‘either/or’ option with Albion Way and the town centre – we need a network of safe cycle routes, like we already have for vehicles and for pedestrians (on pavements – albeit imperfect in places). It’s about giving people options, depending on where they want to go. This new lane links up with the existing cycle lane out towards Broadbridge Heath (the one you refer to, which goes behind Sainsburys), and continues round to the GP surgery and park entrance, crossing Springfield Road (where many people ride down to town). So it links up to several cycling ‘corridors’.

      The main weakness of the new lane in my view is that it’s only one way – you can go ‘there’, but you can’t go back!

      But good access across the town centre is vital too. One change we have campaigned for over many years is two-way cycling through the Carfax. That really would make things easier when crossing town.

  4. Hi. Few points: Feels quite dangerous turning left as a motorist across where cycle lane emerges e.g to access Park Surgery; Been out in town quite a lot today, haven’t seen anyone using the cycle lane; I queued for 10-15 mins tailed way back well into the undercover part of Waitrose trying to leave. I won’t be persuaded to do my shopping by bike as trying to make fewer, not extra shopping trips, so want to use my car. Presume Waitrose planning permission was part based on transport and capacity assessment. Now completely changed. Won’t be shopping there again with these traffic arrangements and have told them so.

  5. Is this cycle lane two way as it’s so wide? If not what’s the point? Usually we have to do a return journey! Needs clearer marking.

    • Francis Vernon says

      Fine point Kath. It’s only a one way cycle lane, not two way. The earlier design was for a bus and cycle lane on the westbound carriageway. Then Horsham DC called a meeting with West Sussex CC, following which the westbound lane was removed from the plan……

    • Yes, I’d assumed it must be two way. Definitely needs better signage!

  6. What I’d like to know and have wanted to know for a long time is what is the Council doing about people, adults included, constantly riding on the pavement. It seems to be accepted now that it is ok for pavements to be used ! It’s not and it’s dangerous.

    • Francis Vernon says

      Neal – are there particular roads in Horsham where you feel this is a big problem?

      • No, it’s everywhere Francis. Walk, ride or drive around any Horsham road and it’s not long before you’ll see someone riding on the pavement. I can accept a small child but not adults who know best. What is the problem with riding on the road. I just don’t get it !!!

        • Ruth Fletcher says

          I’ve asked myself this question a lot -and spoken to quite a lot of people. Here is what I found:
          1) Many people simply think it is too dangerous to ride on the road, especially if they are new cyclists, getting older or have children. They are not wrong, about 20% of all road injuries within the Horsham built-up area are to someone on a bike (police records and a study done by WSCC show that most of these collisions are not because of ‘bad cycling’, but are driver fault).
          2) I was surprised to learn how many people (especially women and younger people) ride on the pavement because they are trying to be polite and avoid holding up the ‘real’ traffic. In my experience, these people are also very cautious riders on the pavements.
          3) In some situations the road is simply rubbish for cycling. There are many examples. Here is one. The legal way to cycle from North Parade to Springfield Park Rd is to turn right at the traffic lights, take the middle lane of three on Albion Way, go through the Bishopric traffic lights, cycle down the hill on Albion Way in the right hand lane, signal right while riding downhill and round a bend, go the whole way round the Waitrose roundabout, ride back up the hill, go through the traffic lights, ride along Albion Way and turn left into Springfield Park Rd (nearly half a mile). The illegal alternative is to ride 70 yards on the pavement.
          4) Some (generally younger) people listened to their parents about not riding on the road and, without having had the opportunity to build up experience of riding on the road (because they never rode with their parents), they haven’t moved beyond that.
          5) Some people really don’t like being shouted at by drivers for riding on the road or being deliberately close passed.
          6) Some people are frightened by the lack of roads policing and the associated high levels of speeding and other bad driving and/or have no confidence that a police officer wouldn’t take the side of the driver regardless of fault.
          7) Some people are legally riding on the pavement (because it is officially shared use), or genuinely cannot tell where cycling is and is not permitted (the police and the councils have not infrequently got this wrong too). NB Official police guidance is that where people have chosen to ride on the pavement for reasons of safety, the police should not penalise responsible cycling.
          8) Some people decide that, given that where cycling is banned and where it is official is pretty arbitrary they pose minimal risk to others as long as they ride carefully, they will make their own decisions.
          9) Some people haven’t thought about the risks to others (blind corners, toddlers darting out, wobbly and frail elderly etc ) or don’t care. Sometimes their lights have run out of battery or they got caught out in the dark without lights, so they think it will be safer to nip on the pavement.

          Hope this helps.

  7. Penny Connold says

    We tried it yesterday but we think there are some odd places; it’s not been properly thought out – yet. Only when families feel safe to ride on the roads, and oldies, as well as fit and confident riders, can we hope to start to swing the balance away from the car to the bike for shorter journeys. We could learn a lot from other Northern European countries such as Holland.

  8. Greg Collins says

    Why did they make it so darned wide. It’s a one-way lane and could be halfthe width it is and still be fine. In fact it is wide enough to be a two way lane!

    • Francis Vernon says

      It could be narrower, but you wouldn’t be able to keep more than one lane of traffic there. Being wider makes it feel safer, and I enjoyed riding side by side with someone there today.

Speak Your Mind