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“Frustrating” cycle lane parking getting worse, says councillor – in town where Daily Mail claimed motorists were being driven “off the road”

“It’s all very well spending all this money implementing cycle lanes, but if people can’t use them, what’s the point?”

A local councillor has called for a meeting to address the growing problem of motorists parking on a cycle lane in the centre of Boscombe – less than a year after the Daily Mail asked if there was “any room left for cars” in the Bournemouth suburb.

Independent councillor Andy Jones has asked for a meeting with Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole (BCP) Council’s portfolio holder for sustainability and transport, Mike Greene, to discuss what he describes as the “ongoing abuse” of the cycle lane on the A35 Christchurch Road, which Jones says has been the subject of “consistent complaints” from residents.

The councillor told the Bournemouth Daily Echo that the situation on Christchurch Road – where cars are regularly photographed parked on the road’s painted cycle lane or on the pavement – has worsened since he first raised the issue with Greene in July last year.

In recent months, several local cyclists have campaigned for BCP Council to clamp down on illegal parking in Boscombe, by posting countless images and videos of pavement and bike lane blocking motorists on Twitter.

“We need zero tolerance on this: pavement parking, on cycle lanes/paths, on double yellows. It just encourages others when there’s no discernible deterrent and puts all other road users at risk,” one cyclist said last month.

“It’s really frustrating, which is why I’ve asked for a meeting with councillor Greene on site, along with councillor [George] Farquhar to try and work out a way forward,” Jones told the Daily Echo this week.

“It’s all very well spending all this money implementing cycle lanes, which of course is a good thing, but if people can’t use them, what’s the point?”

> 'Cycle lane parking puts lives at risk': Cyclist's sticker justice for bike lane van driver

The councillor continued: “Personally, I think there should be cameras there, I’ve made that clear to [councillor Greene] before.

“Unless we’re going to tackle it by enforcement, or provide some sort of protection by bollards or similar, I can’t really see how we’re ever going to resolve the issue.”

Boscombe resident Dean Hawthorne, who last July described the scale of the illegal parking in the area as “an accident waiting to happen”, keeps a record of the number of motorists blocking the cycle lane on the Christchurch Road – a phenomenon he says he witnesses “every time” he drives down the road.

Hawthorne argues that, by allowing drivers to clog up the town’s bike lanes, an opportunity has been missed to improve Boscombe’s cycling infrastructure and to combat pollution.

“They’ve put something in place that isn’t working for a number of reasons. There is a legitimate reason why we need to encourage more people to cycle,” he said.

“I don’t even own a bike; I drive a van. On paper I’m the cyclist’s nightmare, but I’m not, I can see the absolute benefits of having decent cycling infrastructure.”

> Large bike symbols painted on middle of Bournemouth lanes to encourage cyclists to ride in primary position – and motorists aren’t happy

These calls for investment in, and the protection and proper enforcement of, Boscombe’s cycling infrastructure come less than a year after the council’s decision to paint bicycle symbols on the area’s roads – to encourage cyclists to take a “prominent” position – caused something of a meltdown in the national press.

The freshly painted symbols, which have been in use in the UK since 1975, prompted the Mail and Daily Telegraph to claim that cyclists in Boscombe were being encouraged to “ignore” the town’s dedicated bike lane – the one currently inundated with parked cars.

“Cyclists are being encouraged by council officials to ignore a dedicated cycle path and use a busy main road instead in an attempt to force traffic in the town centre to slow down,” the Mail wrote last May.

“Although cyclists have the use of the 7ft wide bike lane alongside the A35 in Bournemouth, Dorset, large bike symbols have been painted on the main road as well.”

The newspaper then described the markings as the “latest move by the authorities to drive cars off the road” and included in their headline the question: “Is there any room left for cars?”

Meanwhile, the Telegraph quoted readers who claimed that the new markings “made the bike lane redundant while making cyclists think ‘they own the road’.”

> Bike lane meltdown: New road markings prompt Mail to ask, “is there any room left for cars?”

Responding to the latest call for action concerning the spate of bike lane parkers in Boscombe, a BCP Council spokesperson said that the local authority is aware of the ongoing issues and that worried residents can report incidents directly to them.

“To address the issue our parking enforcement team is stepping up additional visits to these area as part of their daily patrols,” the spokesperson said.

“We will continue to patrol Christchurch Road on a daily basis to deter drivers from parking in contravention and to enforce penalty charge notices to drivers that do not comply.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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13 comments

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chrisonabike | 1 year ago
0 likes

Hmm... maybe this is worthy of another thread like "Cars in houses"?  Maybe not - bet it would rapidly rack up several hundred posts then everyone would get very bored...

"Carbon-kicking" Ovo Energy this morning, showing how to park socially (for drivers).  Maybe making cars electric still leaves some major issues?

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hutchdaddy | 1 year ago
2 likes

This sort of parking is so common that surely an enforcement officer would swiftly raise enough in fines to pay their own wages.

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chrisonabike replied to hutchdaddy | 1 year ago
2 likes

Yup. This morning's classic. It's really hard to invent a rationale which doesn't involve "yeah I did it to piss people off" but we've some talented sophists here so never say never...

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Seventyone | 1 year ago
5 likes

All cycle lanes without bollards do is signal to people "you can park here without obstructing other cars"

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IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
7 likes

99% of this is down to the idea that obstructing vehicular traffic is letting the side down, therefore to be a team player, you must ensure you obstruct the main highway as little as possible (aside from when more than a 10 yard walk would be required to do so, then fuck 'em all).

When I drive, I have drifted into a bit of pavement parking where there are others already parked on occasion, but I simply could not park on zig-zags, double yellows, corners and wide pavements. Yet, it has become the case that a large percentage of motorists consider that as long as traffic can flow, you can park anywhere, and anyone working considers that parking restrictions don't apply. The only thing that stops people these days is if they believe there might be enforcement. We shouldn't need enforcement. (We are seeing this more and more, that any traffic rules don't count if they don't think there is enforcement, which can include one way streets, keep left bollards, traffic lights, any rule of the road).

Filling cycle lanes is just an extention of habitual anti-social driving. I'd like to see the courts, council and police being allowed to take a stronger view on obstruction. It should not be necessary to argue that if you can squeeze by or step into the road, or cycle into the main highway, you have not been obstructed. Clearly you have been forced to change direction by the presence of the parked vehicle. It needs a simple change in law to defeat the bad case law that evolved. I would also argue that the law is discriminatory in that able-bodied people may be able to trivially cope with a car parked on the pavement, but the blind, especially those who rely on learned paths, should not be expected to have to cope with obstructions where the obstructors have no legal right to be there in the first place.

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hawkinspeter replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
3 likes
IanMSpencer wrote:

Filling cycle lanes is just an extention of habitual anti-social driving. I'd like to see the courts, council and police being allowed to take a stronger view on obstruction. It should not be necessary to argue that if you can squeeze by or step into the road, or cycle into the main highway, you have not been obstructed. Clearly you have been forced to change direction by the presence of the parked vehicle. It needs a simple change in law to defeat the bad case law that evolved. I would also argue that the law is discriminatory in that able-bodied people may be able to trivially cope with a car parked on the pavement, but the blind, especially those who rely on learned paths, should not be expected to have to cope with obstructions where the obstructors have no legal right to be there in the first place.

I think that anti-social parking should be addressed by letting the public submit pictures of problem vehicles and have an incrementing fine system so that repeat offenders get increasingly high fines (or possibly scrapping of the vehicle).

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chrisonabike replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
1 like

Correct - being generous it's seen as "social parking" from the point of view of other drivers. Thing is though the point of parking is generally to exit your vehicle, at which point they're all in your way...

So maybe it's more "avoiding ire and possibly damage from other motorists"?

Some entirely social parking in the pleasant, car-infested seaside suburb of Portobello today.

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ubercurmudgeon | 1 year ago
5 likes

Be kind to these people. They've been cursed by the gods to drive a big metal box around for eternity... No, wait, they haven't, they've chosen their lifestyle and their car dependence. Yet the authorities often take complaints about inconsiderate parking as akin to picking on poor Sisyphus for leaving his boulder blocking the path up the hill.

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the little onion | 1 year ago
5 likes

Bollards bollards bollards bollards bollards

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ChuckSneed | 1 year ago
0 likes

They should be forced off the road, just not into the bike lane!

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Rome73 | 1 year ago
2 likes

There is a lack of enforcement. There are no traffic police, no wardens. Everything is discretionary - speeding, mobile phone use, park where u want and, yes, red lights. 

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wtjs replied to Rome73 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Everything is discretionary - speeding, mobile phone use, park where u want and, yes, red lights
You forgot MOT and VED!

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Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
10 likes

One of the ways to solve the issue of cycle lane parking locally has been by creating specially marked parking areas outside the take away. This seems to have been very well received by drivers.

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