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Swindon pop-up bike lane removed within a week because people were moving the lane dividers

Business owners complained delivery drivers could not stop in remaining motor traffic lane

A pop-up bike lane on Commercial Road in Swindon has been removed less than a week after it was installed. The council said that it had been made unsafe by members of the public moving the lane dividers.

Commercial Road is ordinarily a two-lane one-way street. The Swindon Advertiser reports that last week one motor traffic lane was turned into a cycle lane and segregated with plastic barriers.

However, traders on the street complained that they could not get deliveries as there was nowhere for vans and lorries to stop.

The council said the scheme had now been cancelled after people moved the barriers.

Roads boss, Maureen Penny, said: “Unfortunately, what has happened here is that members of the public have been interfering and illegally moving bollards and signs.

"This has ultimately made the scheme dangerous for everyone and I now have serious health and safety concerns due to the chaos caused by this interference. The scheme will be cancelled with immediate effect."

Chris McKendrick, who runs The Pharmacy and who himself cycles to work, said the pop-up lane did not appear to have been properly thought-through.

“When I rode into work on Friday, these barriers had popped up. It was as if it had been a midnight raid.

“As a business owner in the street, I had not been advised of this or consulted. It would perhaps have been courteous to give us some notice as to what was going to happen.

“The council doesn’t seem to have given any thought to the businesses in this road. There is nowhere for any deliveries to be made. Lorries can’t go in the cycle lane, and if they pull up in the other lane, they block it completely.”

Marcus Kittridge, who runs the Baristocats café, added: “We have about half our stock at the moment and about half our menu is not available because we haven’t been able to accept a delivery.

“The companies won’t send a delivery if there’s nowhere safe for them to stop, and they won’t stop in the main running lane, totally blocking it.

“We are desperate for a delivery soon. We spend all weekend going round supermarkets looking for things we can use in the café but that’s much more expensive and that was the entire weekend gone.”

Upon seeing the scheme after it was first installed, Labour councillor for Mannington and Western, Jim Robbins, tweeted: “How has this taken five months? I’m shocked at how shit it is.”

Council leader David Renard initially defended the scheme, saying: “What we saw across the country was authorities putting things in place very quickly and then having to take them out again. So we have spent some time consulting on a number of schemes, consulting with local businesses and local residents.”

The council later conceded that it did not carry out “individual consultations” with the businesses on Commercial Road.

Speaking about the design, McKendrick said: “Commercial Road has six or seven roads coming off it. And every time the cycle lane meets it, it stops, so the cars can get out. It means that people on bikes have to keep stopping and the priority is still the traffic.

“I was watching and there were a few people using the new cycle lane, one every five or 10 minutes or so, but there were still a lot of people riding on the pavement, or ignoring the new lane and riding in the road.

“If I was riding up the road, I’d probably use the road as well, because of all the junctions with the side roads in the cycle lane.”

Swindon Council received £214,515 in the first tranche of emergency active travel funding – more than their indicated allocation.

Speaking about the abandonment of the Commercial Road scheme, Penny said: "The feedback from cyclists has been very positive and helpful to us and it is a shame that they will not enjoy the benefits of this route. However, I am determined to introduce safe cycle routes and will go back to the drawing board to find another way to introduce a scheme in this area.”

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

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Fifth Gear | 3 years ago

 the delivery drivers "won’t stop in the main running lane, totally blocking it."

But the retailers will remove the street furniture illegally and the Council will simply remove the infrastructure as a result. There is no such thing as the rule of law when motor supremacism shows its face.

Rik Mayals unde... | 3 years ago
1 like

This, just like many such schemes here in Lancashire, are poorly thought out, badly implemented and just piss motorists off and make them hate cyclists even more. Lancashire county council have put one such scheme in place at the top of London road, heading right into Preston shitty centre, sorry, city centre. I have yet to see a cyclist using the route down Frenchwood avenue, yet is causing gridlock into Preston. Every motorist I have spoken to is pissed off with it, and seems to blame cyclists. 

rct | 3 years ago
1 like

Most of the companies appear to have access to the rear via service roads, but their staff may have to use the car park to enable this.

miekwidnes | 3 years ago
1 like

Great - aonother bunch of idiots grabbing some money for a pro-cycling, pro-green project to lok good wirthout really thinking it through properly

How did they think the businesses were going to get deliveries?? There was another one recently where they didn;t tell anyone and the people in the houses on the route had nowhere to park


little thought, even less communication

And and the end of the day cyclists will get the blams

and it sounds like the design was rubbish anyway - who on Earth wants to use a cycle lane where you have to stop every few yards for a joining road???

Maybe - one day - they will get someone to design they who knows about cycling - and thinks about the people it will involve overall as well


I know - I know - hopeless optimism - I can only dream!

Titanus replied to miekwidnes | 3 years ago

I know - I know - hopeless optimism - I can only dream!

Dream in one hand, shit in the other. See which one ends up holding the most stuff. Local councils and government in general are incredibly slow, inefficient and inept. It's always been this way in this country. This sort of crap is just expected.


and why doesn't Firefox's spellcheck work on this site? Works elsewhere.

brooksby replied to miekwidnes | 3 years ago

I think you'll find that stopping every few metres for a side road is standard for many British cycle paths

Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago

I know that street.

I'm surprised that they put it in the left hand lane, thats where the majority of the businesses are.  I would have put it in the right hand one.  Or even as a contraflow on the next street up, which is more residential.

Poorly thought out indeed, cant blame people for being pissed in this circumstance.

brooksby | 3 years ago


Roads boss, Maureen Penny, said: “Unfortunately, what has happened here is that members of the public have been interfering and illegally moving bollards and signs.

"This has ultimately made the scheme dangerous for everyone and I now have serious health and safety concerns due to the chaos caused by this interference. The scheme will be cancelled with immediate effect."

Couldn't the council have had a few 'enforcement officers' hanging around, making sure 'members of the public' knew that this was here for a purpose and they couldn't just move street furniture because they didn't like it?  Maybe a few FPNs just to make the point?

Sriracha replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
1 like

Or even consult the stakeholders (sorry!) beforehand?

There seems to be plenty space for parking on the pavement, ahem, which has clearly been widened in the past. Maybe, with a little more imagination and expense, they could have rejigged the layout to have loading lay-bys within the pedestrian area. Obviously that would be one side only, they'd need to trolley their stuff across the road.

But if the shop keepers are so concerned, I'm surprised they have not militated for the complete closure of the road to all motor traffic, with the possible exception of morning deliveries. Marcus Kittridge would sell far more coffees if it was a bustling piazza with seating areas and attractive planters outside his Baristocats café, instead of a desolate motorway.

Secret_squirrel replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago

Its part of a fairly complex one way system that goes "over the top" of the new Town.  No simple fixes.

Compact Corned Beef | 3 years ago

I think this can be chalked up alongside tiny painted strips as the kind of attempt to provide infrastructure that would have benefitted from a bit more joined-up thinking. It's a shame, as this provides ammunition to people who'll want to slate the idea of more cycle lanes generally.

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