A council has been forced to remove painted advisory cycle lanes on a road notorious for speeding motorists just days after they were installed, following complaints from locals that the new lanes were “unsafe” and made the carriageway “too narrow” for drivers to safely pass.
Telford and Wrekin Council introduced the advisory cycle lanes on Bellpit Road and Colliers Way, The Rock, Telford, at the end of February, as part of measures designed to prevent motorists from “speeding at dangerously high levels” in the area.
However, according to the Shropshire Star, the lanes – marked with a broken white line, which allows motorists to enter them – were quickly criticised by local residents, who complained to the council that the new layout was confusing and potentially dangerous.
One local, Steve Coleman, claimed that he witnessed a near miss between two motorists on Bellpit Road and that the new cycle lanes ensured that “there is not enough room for two cars to pass safely”.
“I agree with safety measures, speed bumps etc, but come on, the road is too narrow for what they have done,” Coleman, who appeared unaware that motorists can, in fact, enter the advisory lanes if safe to do so, said on Facebook.
Another resident wrote: “I drove up there thinking they turned it into a one-way system, so I was driving in the middle of the road, avoiding going into the cycle lane, to then seeing another car coming down in the middle of the road. It’s ridiculous.”
Following these complaints, Telford and Wrekin Council swiftly removed the lanes at the weekend, with the local authority announcing that it will now a pursue “a more commonly known solution” – such as a new 20mph limit – to help curb the area’s speeding issue.
“Residents in The Rock along with the parish council asked Telford and Wrekin Council to help reduce traffic speeds across the area,” a spokesperson for the council said.
“The council has a duty to provide safe highways for all users and monitoring has clearly showed vehicles speeding at dangerously high levels on Bellpit Road and Colliers Way in particular.
“Following two rounds of consultation with residents, further views were raised regarding the new road layout underway at The Rock for which the council is thankful.
“We have listened and acted upon these comments where appropriate and amendments have been made. We will now continue to work towards reducing traffic speeds and implementing a 20mph zone.
“This will be achieved by a more commonly known solution in the borough with new centre and edge of carriageway lines as well as speed indicator devices. The project continues to stay within the approved budget.”
Telford and Wrekin Council’s hasty U-turn follows a similarly abrupt change in cycle lane policy in Edinburgh, where last week the city council voted to reinstate bollards on a busy bike lane just weeks after they were taken away.
In September, the City of Edinburgh Council agreed to remove the bollards on Drum Brae North due to safety concerns for cyclists “at risk when coming downhill on the steepest section of the hill”.
Councillors claimed that people using the segregated cycle lane, installed during the Covid-19 pandemic as part of the city’s Spaces for People scheme, were in danger of colliding with the bollards if forced to take “evasive action such as if someone was reversing from a driveway”.
However, since the bollards were removed in January, images and videos flooded social media showing drivers treating the cycle lane like another lane of motor traffic, forcing councillors to criticise the “depressing lawlessness” of these bike lane-using motorists and prompting the swift reinstalment of the bollards along half of the cycleway.
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.