Becky Reynolds, "One Way, No Way!" Campaigner
Becky Reynolds, "One Way, No Way!" Campaigner

Brighton’s successful North Laine contraflow scheme

Becky Reynolds grew up cycling. Her Mum taught her to ride at an early age, so cycling has been and integral part of her life for as long as she can remember. What changed this everyday self-described 'utility cyclist' into a campaigner and co-founder of Cycle Lewes, an active campaigning group?

This month Cycling UK has launched the national Space for Cycling campaign with the vision of making it safe for anyone to cycle anywhere in the country.

Both experienced campaigners and thousands of everyday people are taking part by sending emails via our website challenging Councillors all over the country to pledge their support. United, we're confident change can happen, as it has in examples all over the country, including Brighton.

In 1998 Brighton and Hove decided that many of their roads needed to become one way to stop them from being used as “rat runs” by car users.  On the surface this makes complete sense, no one wants their road to become the go to route for fast moving cars or taxis in a hurry. The down side of the new one way systems was that no provision for cyclists was made along side, meaning that either the cyclists needed to go far out of their way to navigate within the law or, as many did, they were forced to break the law and their safety into their own hands and cycle illegally.

“Having ridden constantly from childhood it began to make me angry when I saw rules and roads changed that made it unnecessarily difficult for cyclists. I guess I’m an enthusiast for improved conditions. I don’t want to live in a place where children are strapped into cars from the moment they’re born.

Becky Reynolds

One of the main affected areas of the city was Brighton’s North Laine, a network of shopping and residential streets near Brighton Station. Recent studies have shown that shoppers who arrive by bicycle can provide an essential boost to local economies and can help regeneration, something people rarely considered in the 90s.

Becky and her fellow campaigners at Bricycles began a cleverly named “One Way? No way” campaign insisting that there should be no one-way streets without a 2-way provision for cyclists. One of the fellow bike minded campaigners she met was a cycle trainer by the name of Ian Davey, who retained his passion for championing cycling as he went on to become one of Brighton’s Green Party Councillors.

Things really began to change once the Green Party took control of the council and formed a minority administration in 2011. “There are a lot of environmentally minded people in Brighton but it seemed we really gained momentum when Ian Davy joined the Green Party, it created a sea of change in the community, and a lot positive changes gained cross party support.”  

In the autumn of 2012 Becky Reynolds, Bricycles, Councillor Ian Davey and fellow campaigners were able to celebrate their success as North Laine was transformed and many one-way streets became two-way for cycling. 

If you want to see help open up one-way streets to cycling, the first step is to write to your councillors asking them to make Space for Cycling - click the link below to get started.