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Safety works on "optical illusion" cycle lane imminent after more than 100 trip incidents

"This mitigation should make the change in levels clearer to pedestrians and prevent further trips and falls."...

An under-fire council has announced that safety works on a now-famous "optical illusion" cycle lane, which has caused an estimated number of trip victims in excess of 100, will be undertaken as soon as the weather allows.

Bath and North East Somerset Council confirmed the works last month, a road safety report recommending double yellow line markings adjacent to the kerb between the cycling infrastructure and the kerb. The council said the solid white line marking the edge of the cycle lane will be broken, to better separate it from the kerb and hopefully reduce the amount of people tripping on the change in levels.

The situation in Keynsham has been well-documented, constituency MP Jacob Rees-Mogg causing headlines last year when he called the project a "failed experiment". In the first year of its use, 59 injuries were reported, that number now believed to have passed 100, with more pedestrian injuries reported at the start of this year.

Previous works to try to keep people from tripping on the infrastructure included painting the bike lane surface red, although this does not appear to have had much impact, residents and visitors still tripping due to the differing kerb heights between the cycle lane and pavement — made worse by the white kerbing and white lines looking similar, something the council hopes to fix by breaking the solid line adjacent to the cycle lane.

> More pedestrian injuries reported on "optical illusion" cycle lane, with one casualty claiming it must have been "designed by toddlers"

A Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice will be applied to allow the council to carry out the works as soon as possible, weather permitting, councillor Paul Roper telling the BBC he hopes it brings an end to the trip reports.

"This mitigation should make the change in levels clearer to pedestrians and prevent further trips and falls," he said. "We are grateful for people's patience while the audit was undertaken and the road safety report compiled, which we are acting on."

Roper had claimed that previous works led to a reduction in reported incidents to a level of, on average, two to three per month. However, there has been vocal opposition from other councillors, Conservative Alan Hale calling it an "utter pantomime".

"You'd think with the best part of 100 casualties over two years, [the council] would actually be doing something positive and firm," he said last month. "People will not stop falling and will not stop injuring themselves."

Roper's Liberal Democrat colleague Hal MacFie added: "What we believe is happening is that people who live in Keynsham are very wary coming up here. They know that if they just forget for a minute on one of those kerbs, it's going to go and they're going to go down with it.

"Those people either aren't coming [to town] or they're very cautious, but people from outside of town don't know about it and they're the ones who will start to go down."

In April last year, Rees-Mogg called for the cycle lane to be removed and the route to return to being a two-way street.

Dan joined road.cc 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 road.cc, 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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5 comments

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hawkinspeter | 1 week ago
1 like

Looks like they're doing a bit of repainting of it tonight: https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/optical-illusion-cycle-lane-caused-9219854

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alexuk | 1 month ago
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The Lib Dems of BANES don't listen to residents. They think they know best, and despite 70%+ opposition to this, and the barmey anti-car policies in Bath, they just keep doing it. Stop voting them in the council elections if you want changes and better roads/cycle lanes? There shouldn't really be a need for bike lanes, if only motorists were held accountable for poor driving and endangering cyclists. Start some serious sentencing, like banning driving for LIFE, then you'll see some positive changes, I'm sure.

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chrisonabike replied to alexuk | 1 month ago
7 likes
alexuk wrote:

The Lib Dems of BANES don't listen to residents. They think they know best, and despite 70%+ opposition to this, and the barmey anti-car policies in Bath, they just keep doing it. Stop voting them in the council elections if you want changes and better roads/cycle lanes? There shouldn't really be a need for bike lanes, if only motorists were held accountable for poor driving and endangering cyclists. Start some serious sentencing, like banning driving for LIFE, then you'll see some positive changes, I'm sure.

Some satire there?  If not, let me add some - ... and they should hang drivers who park on the footway or double-yellows als!  First - they won't do it again, and you'll start to see some positive changes!

I've actually had a quick look at this lane now while in the area.  I don't think a short section of wonky cycle track will fix the world, or even Keynsham.  Road policing is currently pretty dire - however I simply don't believe "police it better" will sort out our roads - because it's not just wrong'uns.  It certainly won't lead to more people cycling.

Notes from visit: a) Keynsham seems a bit of a "car town" but given the (reasonably) regular and fast rail connections to Bristol and Bath it could be ... less of one? b) This is a really short section in an otherwise very car-happy, not very cycle-friendly place. c) The lane is far from ideal (particularly the variation in heights and whether there's actually a kerb on not.  However (@ Jacob Rees Mogg) the "street" I can't imagine the street would be improved by increasing the volume of motor traffic as in "before".

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Shades replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
1 like

Agree.  I commuted through Keynsham (down that road before the cycle path) for a year; not at all cycle friendly.  The Lib Dems stated they'd be pro sustainable transport; people voted for them.  The Tories were 'wiped out' (their words) and now only have 4 seats in the B&NES council; lowest number equal with the greens.  People forget that, have a tantrum when a new scheme (cycle path, block a rat-run etc) is proposed, create a plausible reason (stops emergency services, pollution, children walking to school threatened etc blah blah), drum up some sort of group on Nextdoor, suggest that a majority of a MINORITY sample of the local population opposes it and that, therefore, democracy has been thwarted.  Just b#llocks.

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Shades replied to alexuk | 1 month ago
6 likes

I live in a part of Bath that has pretty entrenched rat-running that, at times, can be pretty dangerous.  At the local elections the Tories said they'd rip out any form of cycle infrastructure (good or bad), reverse any recent residents parking schemes (ie stops people parking and walking into town), stop/reverse any blocking of rat-runs (LTN is the modern term; don't like it personally) and change the speed limit back to 30mph (from 20mph).  My wife cycles to work EVERY day on local roads whatever the weather.  I didn't vote for them.  Bath is pretty toxic for cyclists and pedestrians so I don't mind the Lib Dems sticking one up the motorists (asking people nicely has failed); if it does affect me when I drive then I'll have to change my habits.  The solutions may not be perfect but at least it's better than 'do nothing'.

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