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Senior RAC figure hails "common sense has prevailed" as "bizarre" wiggly cycle lane to be removed

The council's leader last week said "big mistakes" were made and the local authority had "got it wrong" after an extended anti-cycle campaign which saw some locals claim the "Mickey Mouse" layout had made them the "laughing stock of the nation"...

The head of policy for car insurance and breakdown cover provider the RAC has declared it is "good to see common sense has prevailed" after an independent review recommended a "bizarre" seafront road layout, with a cycle lane and eye-catching wiggly lines, should be reversed and car parking restored.

Commenting to GB News, Simon Williams said common sense had "prevailed over the bizarre Clevedon seafront road scheme" and that "locals will now be celebrating that more people will be able to park and enjoy looking at the seas and the historic pier as well as visiting hospitality businesses".

Last week, North Somerset Council's leader apologised to residents over the £1.3 million redesign, which a campaign group named Save Our Seafront branded a "Mickey Mouse" layout that had made the town the "laughing stock of the nation" and "Balamory from hell".

> Controversial wiggly cycle lane with "Mickey Mouse" layout recommended to be ripped out following independent review

A series of protests followed, including a seafront conga line and parking "flash mob" to block the cycle lane, and led to the council ordering an independent review, which has now recommended the two-way cycle lane be removed and sea-facing parking restored.

Clevedon cycle lane protest (Image credit: Justine Willington/Twitter)

"Many will also be thinking how so much tax-payers money could have been spent on such a simple scheme, let alone one which turned out to be so deeply unpopular," Mr Williams continued.

"There are also surely questions to be answered as to how this was ever classed as an 'active travel' scheme considering how short the cycle lane is. For this reason, we struggle to see how this would ever help to get people out of their cars, which was one of the stated aims of the project."

Last week, council leader Mike Bell said it was a "big mistake" and the local authority had "got it wrong". He also committed to removing the infrastructure at an estimated further cost of £375,000.

"We'll have to try to find the money — it's not going to be easy, but we will try to do that," he said. "The big mistake was that we implemented a scheme that wasn't supported by the community and I'm really sorry that happened.

"We didn't get the consultation and engagement right, it took place during the Covid pandemic and, as a result, we've delivered a scheme that didn't work for people. We're under immense financial pressure, as are all councils. I would not wish to be in this position if we could have avoided it.

"But the right thing to do is to try to deliver some changes and deliver a scheme that works for the people of Clevedon and that's what we're going to try to do."

The comments marked the end of an 11-month period of protests and campaigning following the unveiling of the new layout in January, pictures of the "wiggly line" design appearing across the media and social media.

While a public consultation found that 50 per cent of locals supported the plans, compared to 42 per cent who opposed the scheme, since the initiative was announced 'Save Our Seafront' has led a high-profile campaign against the redevelopment and penned a petition to the council which attracted over 6,000 signatures.

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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14 comments

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Bob L | 3 months ago
5 likes

So I live in clevedon. On occasion I talk to people from places other than clevedon. None of them laugh at me for infrastructure changes. I conclude that clevedon being 'the laughing stock on the nation' is utter bollox.
Also that photo is old. The wiggly lines are gone ages ago.
Would be nice if we could divert some of the £375k to fix the condemmed skatepark and build a long promised pump track. Something actually beneficial to the community..

Avatar
Car Delenda Est | 3 months ago
2 likes

This may be a controversial view but I honestly think if money is tight you're better off adding ASLs and maybe separate lights for cyclists at junctions than adding a long stretch of paint to a road.

Basically focus on improving your junctions first.

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chrisonabike replied to Car Delenda Est | 3 months ago
0 likes
Car Delenda Est wrote:

This may be a controversial view but I honestly think if money is tight you're better off adding ASLs and maybe separate lights for cyclists at junctions than adding a long stretch of paint to a road. Basically focus on improving your junctions first.

Agree to some of this.  Paint is pretty pointless.  Pointillism (advisory cycle lanes) is perfectly pointless.

Also agree that junctions are of key importance.  But... NOT ASLs!  Here's what we need (for mass cycling).  Or the "invented here" version (doesn't seem bad, but barely tested - why do we always need to do this?)

Unfortunately fixing junctions seems to be really hard in the UK.  It will involve cost, and troubling those driving (and maybe even walking).  There WILL be disruption while making the changes and junctions are chokepoints for cars so "but congestion!" will be brought up.  It might mean tweaking rules.

It's also making a very visible positive choice that yes, we really do want to make cycling safer and more attractive.  No "quiet back streets route" or "just put up a sign on a path" somewhere. 

So it's politically very risky.   And maybe legally - junctions tend to be where the crashes occur so if you do something different (or just change something) and a crash happens... (At least it was only a cyclist though.)

Early release lights for cyclists (unless this is on the cyclists' own separate infra)?  Hmm... we have these in Edinburgh and sometimes twitchy drivers think they're for them.

ASLs?  Probably about as good as magic paint.  Maybe worse as have their own issues.  I tend to ignore them.  I find motor vehicles in them as frequently as parked in cycle lanes if not more.  If you filter into them then you may incourage MGIF when the lights change.

Not sure they really help people shift lanes either.  I'm not a shrinking violet but I don't tend to feel comfy doing so at at local 3 lane junction (busy 40mph road with lots of buses and coaches, junction at the crest of a hill.  Good luck getting there by "taking the lane" earlier if busy...)

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Wheelywheelygood | 3 months ago
1 like

The cycle lane needs to be wobbly because that's how be bikers  ride

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Browsie replied to Wheelywheelygood | 3 months ago
2 likes

So that's where they went wrong, the wobbly line needed to be in the cycle lane as opposed to where they actually put it ! Now we know!

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brakesmadly | 3 months ago
0 likes

Also, he clearly didn't read the review. Removal was recommended but they acknowledged there's no money for that, and it goes against the active travel agenda.

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Hirsute | 3 months ago
2 likes

Simon Williams ???

Are you sure Dan -  you haven't got muddled up with NewsThump have you ?!

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HoldingOn replied to Hirsute | 3 months ago
0 likes

Not sure what NewsThump is, but RAC are calling him Simon Williams as well:
RAC News Coverage

Edit: just looked up NewsThump. It says spoof news, but i'm sure i've seen some of those stories in GB News headlines....

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Hirsute replied to HoldingOn | 3 months ago
1 like

Simon Williams or a variation on that name is nearly always a spokesman in an article.

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HoldingOn replied to Hirsute | 3 months ago
1 like
Hirsute wrote:

Simon Williams or a variation on that name is nearly always a spokesman in an article.

The internet is quite the minefield. Too many secret codewords and now there are code names! I'm sure the name "Karen" is code for something/someone as well. How do people keep up?!

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chrisonabike replied to HoldingOn | 3 months ago
4 likes
HoldingOn wrote:

The internet is quite the minefield. Too many secret codewords and now there are code names! I'm sure the name "Karen" is code for something/someone as well. How do people keep up?!

Luckily here on road.cc a name is just a marker of identity, and as unique and immutable as a numberplate.

Avatar
brooksby replied to Hirsute | 3 months ago
1 like
Hirsute wrote:

Simon Williams ???

Are you sure Dan -  you haven't got muddled up with NewsThump have you ?!

That was my first thought (but I suppose there must be real people with that name...)

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LeadenSkies | 3 months ago
4 likes

"more people will be able to park and enjoy looking at the seas and the historic pier as well as visiting hospitality businesses".

How odd, I reckon a decent bike rack will park six or eight bikes in the space required by just one SUV. And I will pretty much guarantee six or eight cyclists eat far more cake and ice-cream on a visit to the seafront than even the most corpulent SUV driver and passenger or two.

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brooksby | 3 months ago
8 likes
Quote:

A series of protests followed, including a seafront conga line and parking "flash mob" to block the cycle lane, and A series of increasingly stupid and bullying activities by a vocal minority led to the council ordering an independent review, which has now recommended the two-way cycle lane be removed and sea-facing parking restored.

Fixed it.

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