Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Cyclist being abused for refusing to use dangerous new cycle lane

“The cycle lane has made me feel more in danger”

A Bradford on Avon cyclist says the creation of a new cycle lane has resulted in her becoming the subject of regular abuse from drivers. Caroline Tassell says the two-way pop-up lane on Winsley Road is not wide enough and full of leaves, but by refusing to use it she is drawing the ire of frustrated motorists who struggle to pass her on the now-narrower main carriageway.

The lane in question is bollarded off and was installed by Wiltshire Council using emergency active travel funding.

However, Tassell told the Gazette and Herald that it wasn’t safe and that many motorists were now beeping their horns and shouting abuse at her for not using it.

“The irony is that the cycle lane has made me feel more in danger,” she said.

“There is no easy way to access it in Bradford on Avon or exit it in Winsley without crossing the road.

“It is too narrow, so if you meet a cyclist coming the other way there is no easy way of passing each other.

“It is also currently full of leaves which are slippery and make it impossible to see the potholes. No amount of abuse is going to change that.”

Tassell said she recently reported a First Bus driver after he swore at her when she refused to move over.

The scheme was proposed by councillor Johnny Kidney.

Speaking in September, he said: “I suggested a scheme on this stretch to improve the environment for walking and cycling on the B3108 between Winsley and Downs View which was previously very intimidating with fast-moving traffic alongside a narrow footpath.”

Kidney said that many children used the route to get to secondary school at St Laurence and he hoped that a safer environment would reduce car use for school runs.

The scheme also came with a speed reduction from 50mph to 40mph.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

Add new comment

41 comments

Avatar
OldRidgeback | 3 years ago
2 likes

There's no way that's safe for two-way cycling. It's only just passable for one way cycling.

Avatar
Al Mossah | 3 years ago
0 likes

To be fair to the council I actually like what they did in the town centre of Bradford on Avon; I can now cycle up Mason's Lane without a line of impatient cars behind me; they can easily overtake as hardly any cars come down there now.  

Avatar
Al Mossah | 3 years ago
6 likes

I used to commute along here, and recently rode along it, not knowing about the lane.  I rode westbound, so on the opposite side of the road to the lane.  It never occurred to me that this was a 2-lane facility. I have gone back to the website to check, and sure enough, it is described as a 2-way cycle route.  That is truly insane. Having used it I wrote to the council to suggest that they had put it on the "wrong" side of the road.  Assuming it was a 1-way facility they should, in my opinion, have put it on the uphill side.  Cyclists are on it for longer, speed differentials are greater between slow cyclist and 40mph(?) cars, and for inexperienced cyclists an uphill lane is much better.  The council did the same thing on the A420 in Chippenham, but made it a 1-way lane.  However, again they put it on the downhill side probably because there are few houses on that side.

The result of both schemes is that they have made the road slightly more dangerous for cyclists.  Overtaking cars come closer, not a great feeling.  In the case of the A420 one they have made one of the safest parts of the road slightly more dangerous whilst completely ignoring the dangerous bits - the roundabouts at either end.

My fear with all these ill-thought out pop-up schemes is that everyone hates them (motorists, cyclists and residents), so the conclusion of the councils will be that they shouldn't provide better cycle facilities.  Which would be the wrong conclusion; we shouldn't provide s**t facilities, but instead provide good ones.  

Avatar
Nick T | 3 years ago
3 likes

They should look at the new A1000/Great North Rd lanes through Finchley, wide enough to park a car in. We know this because they're filled with parked cars in each direction

Avatar
Gary's bike channel | 3 years ago
2 likes

anytime people abuse me for cycle lanes or paths, i put their reg and face on rate driver and try to get up to their window, then yell get on the bus! or ''pay road tax!   or'' get a job' at them.    Everyone of my points there is valid and a parrelel argument to theirs but theyre dumb so they end up confused as fuck. 

https://rate-driver.co.uk/JT54DEC
if anyone can answer my query as to how a road can be full up at three on a friday if everybody works full time, feel free to join in. Gets more hits on his plate anyway. No way can every single car on the road at all hours of the day be being driven by someone who works full time, else theyd all be at work. 
 

Avatar
randonneur | 3 years ago
4 likes

Well done Caroline for sticking to your guns.
I am a road cyclist and I like to use the road anyway. I can see how dangerous that is and posts can be accident prone.

Avatar
John Pitcock | 3 years ago
2 likes

As part of the covid "Active Travel" scheme - Birmingham have extended the pavements on some high streets into the road to allow pedesterians to give each other room, especially where there are queues outside shops etc. They are protected from the road by bollards. This is good.
It does mean that the road is narrow and there is no room for vehicles to pass a cyclist - no problem: I just ride in the primary position. I have been hooted (once by a bus driver). I can only think it is because the drivers want me to ride the other side of the bollards - but I can't as it is pavement: and not a cycle lane.

Avatar
Bungle_52 | 3 years ago
4 likes

This is how the wiltshire times covered it :

[ Residents have given a mixed response over the pop up cycle lane from Bradford on Avon to Winsley.

Winsley resident, Bruce Moss, raised concerns over the safety of cyclists who use the scheme.

His said the bollards, similar to those seen on the Trowbridge scheme, make the road and cycle lane not wide enough for use.

Mr Moss asserts that for drivers it would be hazardous when passing or overtaking as he says the scheme has made the route ‘narrow and quite dangerous’ but added that without the bollards ‘it would probably be alright’.

Cllr Johnny Kidney put the scheme forward to Wiltshire Council to promote safer active travel on commuter and school routes. He said: “I suggested a scheme on this stretch to improve the environment for walking and cycling on the B3108 between Winsley and Downs View which was previously very intimidating with fast-moving traffic alongside a narrow footpath.

“Improving the environment for walking and cycling will be a huge benefit to the many young people from the village who use this route to get to secondary school at St Laurence, or would do so if a segregated walking and cycling space was in place.

“It should also have the added benefit of reducing car use on the school run.”

He added that from the start he was clear about the narrowing of the road and that a speed reduction – from 50 to 40mph – was successfully requested on the road.

While lighting was also brought up as a concern, Cllr Kidney said that the bollards are highly reflective which he hopes will improve safety for pupils as evenings draw in.

Pete Jobson, has praised the scheme saying that not only has it made the road safer, but it has encouraged him to ditch his car in favour of a bike.

He said: "It's actually made me use my bike a lot more often than I have done."It is a change, people have to reduce the speed in their cars and it does feel different. You can no longer get in the car drive on the road and switch your mind off, you have to think about your driving, which I personally think is a good thing.

"My daughter walks that way to school and she said just the fact that the buses and vans are separated from the pavement; she and her friends all say it's much nicer walking to school."

Mr Jobson added that when he travelled on the route at dusk he felt safe on the journey.

Parvis Khansari, director of Highways, said: “The temporary scheme on B3108 between Winsley and Bradford on Avon is part of the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Fund and encourages people who would usually make short commuter trips to cycle instead.“We have received several requests for cycling facilities along this route, both before and during the lockdown period.

“This is a pop-up scheme that will be in place for a minimum of six months, and we are closely monitoring its usage and traffic behaviour throughout this period. At the end of the six months, we will make a decision on the scheme’s future, based on our monitoring and feedback from all road users.

“The scheme was checked by a road safety auditor prior to installation and will be again once it is fully implemented. If any changes are recommended, we will make them to improve safety for both cyclists and motorists.

“Signs are in place at each end of the route to advise drivers of the new road layout, but we all need to be alert to what is happening around us and considerate of others at all times when using Wiltshire’s roads, including paying particular attention to any changes to the road layout on our everyday routes.”

“Drivers of motor vehicles have a particular responsibility to protect more vulnerable road users such as cyclists from harm, so please pay attention when approaching cycle lanes.” ]

My takes from the article:

The bit about having to think when you get in your car provides an insight into the mind set of some drivers.

I like the bit where someone says it makes his daughter feel safer on the pavement. I think it should be kept for this reason alone.

It is also interesting to see the protection the workers installing the scheme got compared to what cyclists get.

Avatar
stonechat replied to Bungle_52 | 3 years ago
3 likes

Barely wide enough for 1 way cycling 

Avatar
Awavey replied to Bungle_52 | 3 years ago
1 like

so the bollards arent even in line with the lane and so reduce the available width even further with those weird armadillo style mounting points ?

the bollards on the pop up lanes Ive seen, they just drill a hole in the road, insert a steel rod, put bollard over steel rod, plastic bollard sits flush to the road. From that picture it barely looks adequate as a single way cycle lane, how on earth its passed a safety audit for dual way use I cannot fathom.

Avatar
brooksby replied to Awavey | 3 years ago
1 like

The ones in Bristol, they melt the tarmac to glue a base down and then the wand screws into the base (only a half turn to 'lock in place'. Can't have them too secure in case they damage the motor vehicles which (inevitably?) get driven into them...

Avatar
sean1 | 3 years ago
6 likes

Recent study in London concluded that:

Mandatory painted lanes did not lead to any risk reduction and advisory lanes (which motor vehicles are legally permitted to enter) increased injury odds by over 30%.

https://findingspress.org/article/18226-cycling-injury-risk-in-london-im...

 

Avatar
mdavidford | 3 years ago
7 likes
Quote:

The scheme also came with a speed [limit] reduction from 50mph to 40mph.

It's not the speed of the road, it's the maximum allowed. And whether it's actually reduced speeds at all is probably unknown.

Avatar
Hirsute | 3 years ago
13 likes

Here's the actual bike lane (not the one in the picture in the article)

Seriously - 2 way ??

Leaves does look a potential issue that would need avoiding.

Avatar
IanMK replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
13 likes

There's absolutely no way anybody should be cycling against the traffic in that cycle lane. Suicidal!

Avatar
Awavey replied to IanMK | 3 years ago
11 likes

How did that setup even pass a risk assessment ? they want you to cycle contraflow to traffic coming towards you at least 40mph protected by no more than a few bits of plastic bollards and if you are unlucky enough to encounter a cyclist coming the other youd better hope they can bunny hop up a kerb,because your instinct to go left to avoid them results in game over for you, that's insanely unsafe infrastructure.

Sorry but someone is going to get killed being forced to use that.

Avatar
HarrogateSpa replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
12 likes

It isn't the worst one-way bike lane I've seen, but it's not suitable for 2-way cycling.

Avatar
brooksby replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
6 likes

Erm...  That can't possibly be a two-way cycle lane???

Avatar
Hirsute replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
0 likes

She says
“It is too narrow, so if you meet a cyclist coming the other way there is no easy way of passing each other"
So that's what I based my comment on although people do go up cycle lanes the wrong way.

Avatar
wtjs replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
2 likes

Here's the actual bike lane (not the one in the picture in the article)

It appears we were misled by an irrelevant stock picture in the article. Actually, I would accept this one as a reasonable effort in the circumstances. If there was a lot of opposing cycle traffic, I would probably resort to illegal pavement riding unless there are a lot of pedestrians. Then, I would just stay on the road proper.

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
0 likes

To be fair to the council the road isnt wide enough for 2 cycle lanes there so its very much a first attempt.   Their desire is to widen the footpath to a shared use lane out to the line of bollards.   That too will be suboptimal (I hate shared use paths), but its the best you are going to get with the road width.

Unfortunately this is very much a case of not letting perfect get in the way of mediocre.

Also TBF if you go on the councils facebook you'll find nearly all positive responses apart from 1 nimby.  I think there is a real risk of the cyclists moans being used to kill the scheme dead if they are not careful.

Avatar
Awavey replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago
3 likes

Theres perfect, theres a heap of s**t in between and then there is this offering way at the bottom of the list, what did someone say the Belgians call these the other day, murder strips ?

Why cant the pavement extension be the first step? even if suboptimal it's a million miles better than this

Avatar
HarrogateSpa replied to Awavey | 3 years ago
0 likes

It's not a moordstrookje, because it has light segregation (wands).

Avatar
HarrogateSpa replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago
0 likes

I'd prefer a (one-way) bike lane as now over a shared use pavement - but I suppose there has to be a solution for both directions.

Avatar
jimbo2112 replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
2 likes

2-way?!? Insane... whoever passed this as safe is incompetent.

Avatar
wtjs | 3 years ago
6 likes

We could have done with a better photo of both sides of the bike lane, but this appears to be another worse-than-nothing bike lane which should be promptly removed. The council planning should be criticised.

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
2 likes

Worse than nothing??? Really?

Avatar
FlyingPenguin replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago
7 likes
Secret_squirrel wrote:

Worse than nothing??? Really?

Yes, you're given the choice between an excessively narrow strip that forces you into street furniture, isn't maintained and sets up bizarre conflicts with cyclists coming the other way without the space to pass safely  without forcing someone outside the lane or stopping, alternatively stay in the road and be abused and subject to aggressive moves by drivers who now believe even more strongly that you have no right to be on the road.

It should be removed totally as right now it's not fit for purpose and you'd be safer just cycling like you would on any other road.

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago
2 likes
Secret_squirrel wrote:

Worse than nothing??? Really?

A cycle lane of this width is only suitable for one way traffic, and even then it is so narrow as to prevent passing other cyclists. The road in question has a gradient and the cycle lane has been provided only on the downhill side.

So if you ar going uphill you have a choice of riding in the road (which is now too narrower than it was, although iot is questionable if it was ever wide enough for safe overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic. Or crossing the road and riding against the flow, in a lane to narrow for cyclists to pass each other.

Given the width of the road, a cycle lane should have been provided for uphill with no suggestion it should be used by cyclists travelling the ther way. 

Avatar
David9694 replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago
0 likes

In this instance, yes.

I'd pressing for one going the other way on the opposite side of the road, and a decent width.  

Pages

Latest Comments