Cyclists are significantly more likely to be injured in Eastbourne than in the rest of Sussex, Surrey and Kent. These are the findings of ‘Road Safety Analysis’ in their national report ‘Safety in Numbers for Cyclists‘. This report explores, using data from every English local authority, what different levels of risk exist around the country.
Nationally the evidence is, that in areas with high levels of cycling, there is an injury risk per cyclist of around 0.3% each year, but in Eastbourne it is 1.7%. This makes Eastbourne the 16th least safe local authority in England. Wealden in sharp contrast does well and is 283rd out of 320.
International studies have pointed to the effect known as ‘safety in numbers’, which suggests that when there are more cyclists on the road, the rate of injury collisions involving cyclists reduces. Over time this encourages more cycling as more people view it as safe. Unsurprisingly when cycling numbers decline, as in Eastbourne, it then becomes more dangerous.
Paul Humphreys, a spokesperson for Bespoke, said the well documented decline in the Eastbourne cycling numbers is leading to this situation. Eastbourne should be an ideal town for both cycling and walking if only there were safer routes. This problem is likely to get worse, as 13,000 new local houses are being built, but using the existing main roads and the County Council’s projection, for local traffic congestion, is that peak travel times by 2027 may be 71% longer. One solution would be to develop traffic-free routes, on green-field sites, from Hailsham to Eastbourne. This is in line with the local report “Advice for developers”, which is supported by many local groups including developers. Supporters want Eastbourne and Wealden to give much clearer guidance for healthier, safer and more community-focused estates.