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"Bizarre" seven-foot-long cycle lane a "waste of money" critics claim, but council insists it isn't a bike lane

The 2.4m lane in Birmingham has made national newspaper headlines, prompting the city's council to defend its decision to add the markings...

A seven-foot-long stretch of road in Birmingham has caused social media ridicule, local and national newspaper headlines and an official council response.

The 2.4m-long painted markings in Stirchley have attracted criticism from locals who say the apparent cycle lane is "bizarre" and a "waste of money", and appeared in the Independent who reported the council has been blasted for the tiny lane "barely the length of a bike".

And local resident Lauren Hastings told the newspaper "it's completely useless" and "just pointless and a waste of money", but Birmingham City Council has defended the 'lane', which it says is not even a cycle lane after all.

> "That was really exciting!" Longridge local tries out Lancashire's 'shortest cycle lane'

A council spokesperson said: "This isn't a cycle lane it is just for transition purposes for cyclists getting off the Toucan crossing onto the carriageway.

"There is a shared pedestrian and cycle route that connects to the River Rea route with two new Toucan crossings on Pershore Road and Hazelwell Street. This carriageway marking provides the formal transition from the crossing or footway onto the carriageway."

However, the messaging does not seem to have reached the community, with one resident sharing a photo of the markings on Facebook, saying it "is around the length of a bike, brilliant, I'll look forward to cycling along it. What a joke".

Mother-of-one Ms Hastings said she "couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it, I thought the council must have had some paint left over. It's completely useless, how does it benefit cyclists at all? They would be on there for a split second before they are back on the road.

"It is probably more dangerous as it sends them straight back into traffic. You've got to laugh in a way but it's just stupid planning really. It's just pointless and a waste of money. I don't get why they went to the bother of even doing it."

Another said, "I wonder how much it cost to do that because they can't afford to do so many other things on our roads to make them safe 'apparently'?"

Someone else joked it is best to "hope you don't have a tandem".

Cycle lane or not, the short Stirchley section has competition for the official title of Britain's briefest bike lane, with an eight-foot lane popping up in Stroud, Gloucestershire midway through the last decade.

Back in 2021, Nottinghamshire County Council also insisted new road markings in its county were not a cycle lane after the apparent infrastructure, which "takes two and a half seconds to ride over", was subject to similar ridicule as Birmingham's new paint.

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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