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Authority responds to criticisms of new 'Dutch-style' intersection...

Southampton City Council representatives say they are satisfied with the layout of a new junction that has been widely criticised both by local cyclists and activists from outside the city.

The junction was the scene of a hit-and-run incident on Wednesday when a rider was knocked off his bike whole attempting to negotiate the new layout. Critics have described the junction design as confusing and in particular pointed out that its tiny advanced stop boxes, narrow cycle lanes and lack of cycle-specific traffic lights all put riders in harm’s way instead of protecting them.

These details, critics say, do not match the original design.

A council spokesman told James Franklin of the Southern Daily Echo that current traffic legislation meant they could not include lights specifically for cyclists, while space constraints had impacted on the positioning of the ASLs.

He said that cycle lights could be used if a trial currently taking place in London proves successful and legislation changes and added: “Some technical elements have been tweaked as the plans have developed to address various safety audits, legal, traffic regulations and logistical issues.”

Cycle-specific traffic lights that control the flow of cycle traffic in the same direction as motor traffic are in use on London’s Cycle Superhighway 3, which opened in 2010.

The council’s Labour environment and transport czar Jacqui Rayment said: “The previous roundabout proved to be one of our highest accident black spots for cyclists so our challenge was to come up with a fresh new approach that would make the junction safer for all users. We also had to make sure that a new approach was adopted to satisfy the conditions attached to the funding we were given.

“We are satisfied that the innovative design of the new junction will help address many of the issues brought up by residents during our consultation. We are listening to these users and recently held our first cycle forum meeting to continue this dialogue.

“We now have a more direct route to the city centre for pedestrians and cyclists alike. With any new road layout there is a period of review where we monitor how it is working for all road users and pedestrians.

“And we are constantly looking at ways to improve traffic flow and safety city wide.”

Riding the new junction

In this helmet cam video ForestCyclist gives us a taste of what the new junction is like to ride through. “You really have got to have your wits about you at the lights haven’t you?” he says.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.