Bournemouth cyclists tell council: We warned you, and now you've built 'unsafe' cycle paths

Campaigners slammed 'life-threatening' Richmond Hill Roundabout plans and say outcome is as bad as they feared

by Sarah Barth   December 3, 2013  

Richmond Hill Roundabout Bournemouth © Google Streetview.png

New cycle lanes at a roundabout in Bournemouth could put lives in danger according to a cycling expert, who says the corner is so tight, large vehicles will be forced to encroach on the cycle path.

Warning that lives could be lost if the layout is not revised, Jason Falconer, a former Sustrans Bike It! officer who suffered severe injuries in a collision in Poole last year, said he also feared cyclists might be forced to weave in front of vehicles, putting them at risk of being hit by a left-turning lorry.

Speaking on behalf of the Bournemouth Cycling Forum, Jason told the Bournemouth Echo: “An 18-wheeler would have to take up the whole cycle lane to be able to turn left.

“The only thing that could get round there safely would be a Smart car.

“If a cyclist wanted to turn left they would have to be super quick to cross in front of other road users.”

He urged the council to take action, and while praising the action of creating a cycle path, said it could do better.

He added: “I am urging them to look at the experience of London and start to try and make schemes which are really innovative, but worth doing. They need to think about it a bit more.

“It is not just about spending the money, it’s about spending it properly.”

Councillor Michael Filer, Cabinet Member for Transport, Cleansing and Waste, said: “The Richmond Hill roundabout improvements have essentially been completed and the scheme is fully operating. The new design includes new traffic signals while improving cycle safety with new cycle lanes which meet the required width of two metres.

“We are currently using temporary traffic signals at the roundabout while we wait to receive the permanent ones.

“There has unfortunately been a delay in them arriving, however this will not affect cyclists or motorists when using the new improved layout.”

Regular cyclists have expressed their frustration with the layout on Twitter, with one, named Danfox Davies writing:

“Very disappointed with new cycle lanes at Richmond Hill Roundabout, no regard for actual safety of cyclists or drivers.”

Cyclists raised concerns with the council in September, saying that the proposed improvements would put cyclists ‘in conflict with’ motorists, but these fears were dismissed by the council.

John Satchwell, road safety manager at Bournemouth council, told the Bournemouth Echo at the time: “We welcome constructive feedback on our design proposals but must ultimately progress what on balance we consider to be the most appropriate solution. In this instance our primary aim was to address conflict between cyclists and vehicles emerging from the slip road.”

He said they would review the cycle lane on the Wimborne Road approach but said this layout had been used successfully before.

“This particular proposal was submitted as a bid for funds from the Department for Transport Cycle Safety Fund. It was scrutinised by the Sustrans cycle design team, who sent a representative to visit the site and discuss proposals with us, before recommending the scheme for funding.

“As per our normal practice the proposals have also been independently safety audited.”

9 user comments

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Shock horror! Cycle lane in xxxx* badly designed...

*insert the name of any town in the UK.

Bobbinogs's picture

posted by Bobbinogs [42 posts]
3rd December 2013 - 11:22

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simple question, how many traffic engineers working in local, and national, government actually ride bikes?

The only answer I can come up with is none, how else can you explain how bad so many of these schemes actually are?

If you are going to build infrastructure either do it properly, or don't bother and spend the money filling potholes!

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [855 posts]
3rd December 2013 - 11:24

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So in the beginning we are told that Jason Falconer, a former Sustrans Bike It! officer thinks this is a dangerous design and later find out its Sustrans who rubber stamped it.

What are Sustrans goals again?

posted by Mart [82 posts]
3rd December 2013 - 11:40

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Yep. Reading County Council take the "don't bother" approach.

posted by Jones The Steam [13 posts]
3rd December 2013 - 11:42

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I ride over the roundabout every day and can tell you it's absolute madness.

When approaching from the north, the cycle lane moves from on the inside of the road to in between the two lanes of traffic.
Admittedly not many will turn left as it is on to a busy dual carridgeway, but it's suicidal to use the cycle lane if you are planning on doing it. That's not to mention the amount of cars who have no idea what the bright green lane is that swings across the inside lane, and drive straight through it with no disregard to cyclists. D Oh D Oh

edit: Youtube footage of the junction:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43HjAEDp8W0&feature=youtube_gdata

posted by buckulus [2 posts]
3rd December 2013 - 11:56

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No Surprise! Similar situation on proposed routes here in Cardiff - so glad cyclists (CTC and BCF) fought to ensure the highway code didn't force cyclists to use cycle routes (if the cyclists thinks they are unsafe) - get some safe cycle training (National Standard/Bikeability level 3), get fit enough to cycle within a reasonable few MPH of the traffic commuting speed 18-20mph, and become part of the traffic, that is the only safe way to ride on the UK's roads (at present).

Not that I believe this situation should remain, the status quo needs to shift to far great provision for the vulnerable road users: "on going" training for all road users, more on road policing and enforced bans for dangerous behaviour and more 20 mph zones - for starters.

for me - The ride is about adventure, camaraderie and the sense of accomplishment that comes after a long day in the saddle.

Mountain-Nic's picture

posted by Mountain-Nic [119 posts]
3rd December 2013 - 14:44

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Looks like utter maddness from that vid. I don't even understand how its supposed to work!

posted by Matt eaton [222 posts]
3rd December 2013 - 15:12

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Matt eaton wrote:
Looks like utter maddness from that vid. I don't even understand how its supposed to work!

Neither do i! It's bonkers. Watching inexperienced cyclists (and motorists!)using it is truely scary. Quite often at around 8am the traffic is backed up in the right-hand lane so motorists drive straight through the cycle lane.

As Mountain-Nic suggested, the safest way to negotiate the roundabout is to make sure you are travelling at the same speed as the rest of the traffic and steer clear of the cycle lane. The sooner it gets scrubbed out the better.

posted by buckulus [2 posts]
3rd December 2013 - 15:45

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"while praising the action of creating a cycle path, said it could do better"

No praising as its a crap dangerous design & shout out 'you havent even thought it out & could do a lot bloody better!!!'

Dark_Wolf's picture

posted by Dark_Wolf [20 posts]
3rd December 2013 - 23:42

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