Dangerous and exempt from the law

Marina Drive
Julia Powell

My worst place in Brighton and Hove is Madeira Drive. It’s exempt from the law; there aren’t any traffic calming measures down there, no pedestrian crossings (only one right near the pier). There is no proper street lighting, and it seems to be maintained for the sole use of boy racers. It isn’t policed efficiently and it’s dangerous. Especially considering it’s the main seafront road. I’ve been nearly run over twice crossing there. There’s flowers on lampposts where people die on a regular basis.

Comments about this page

  • All the boys ragg their cars its great! its a laugh. I go down there on a Friday sometimes in my mates’ cars…we have such a laugh…its so good.

    By J (12/05/2006)
  • Madeira Drive hasn’t changed that much then. Still a race track. When we were teenagers in the early 60s on a Saturday night we would all congregate at the bottom of North Street outside the electricity show rooms with our cars, I was a passenger with my then buddy Bob Coe. There would be a race up the A23 to a roundabout in Crawley and then back to Brighton. The first and most scary bit was “windy corner” just past Pyecombe which was to be done at the magic 100mph if your car and your bottle was up to it. On return back to Brighton and usually after midnight there were the races along Madeira Drive. In the winter it was handbrake turns on the black ice which bent a few track rods. Good old days, glad to see the tradition is still going.

    By Mick Peirson (10/11/2006)
  • I hate people who use the term ‘boy racers’.  I am a member of a club and we do big events all over the UK showing our cars.  We meet weekly down Madeira for every one to catch up. Not everyone raggs there cars about as most have spent far too much money on their cars to abuse them. You get the odd idiot who thinks he’s clever in his chavved up Fiesta and usually the police are about and do stop the idiots.  So please think before you tarnish us all with the same brush.  I am a careful lady driver who drives a modified show car, not a boy racer who raggs it about Brighton.  If we were stopped from meeting down in Brighton, then I think you’ll have a lot of people driving about the city and that’s more of an issue if you ask me.

    By Zoe D (16/06/2008)
  • Knew a guy named Terry who was killed racing his Suzuki along towards the pier one evening. So sad.

    By Peter Bridger (15/09/2009)
  • Anyone remember a fatal accident involving an E-Type Jaguar during the Speed Trials some time during the Nineteen-Sixties?

    By Nick R (05/03/2010)
  • Madeira Drive (it was renamed to this in 1909) was surfaced AS a racetrack (before that it was simply a road on top of a seawall) after Sir Harry Preston persuaded the council in 1906 to tarmac it to hold motor racing events, it still does every year with the Brighton Speed Trials.

    I have lived here for nearly 30 years, and haven’t managed once to come close to being run over on there, do take more care, there are the occasional idiots around.

    I believe it is also STILL owned by the council, and is closed off many times a year for events (thereby keeping it as a private road).

    By Bill (30/04/2021)
  • In the 1950s I had a Panther 250cc ‘sloper’. These were so named as the cylinder was inclined forward in line with the front tube of the frame. A friend whose father had the grocery shop in Rock Street was a bit older than me and had a BSA Gold Star twin to which he fitted a dual seat so that a girl friend could be carried. Having done this he thought it should be tested so he picked me up to ride pillion and we went down to the pier and back along Madiera Drive where we just topped the magic ‘ton’. (100 mph!) Looking back with some wisdom , how foolish was that? He did give me the rather nice single saddle from his BSA to put on my old 1932 Panther though.

    By Tim Sargeant (01/05/2021)

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