Group says new infrastructure in Caversham puts bike riders at risk

Reading Cycle Campaign has criticised the local council over cycle lanes installed in Caversham this month, saying that they put bike riders at risk of having car doors opened in their path. Reading Borough Council has responded to the criticism by saying that cyclists don’t in fact have to ride there.

The cycle lane was put in place on Lower Henley Road earlier this month as part of resurfacing works, reports the Reading Chronicle. The lane has been painted on the outside of car parking bays, which cycle campaigners say creates a hazard.


Its chairman, Adrian Lawson, said: “It is disgraceful. Government notes say you shouldn’t put in a cycle lane if it is going to make matters more dangerous.

“But because the lane is so narrow and there is no buffer zone it is extremely hazardous. A cyclist without training will put themselves at great risk.”

He also said that the lane, on an uphill stretch of road heading away from the town centre, was 30 centimetres less wide than the 1.5 metre minimum, and that if cyclists wanted to steer clear of the door zone that would put them at risk from traffic.

However, Reading Borough Council spokesman Oscar Mortali said the cycle lane was purely advisory and that cyclist and motorist alike needed to be aware of each other’s presence.

“Reading is a small, tight-knit urban area with significant pressure on the limited road space available,” he explained.

“The council needs to balance the needs of all road users and the only way to safely achieve this is by asking all road users to be aware of each other’s movements.

“The council’s cycling strategy also states that whilst the ideal width of a cycle lane is 1.5m, the minimum width is 1.2m, which is the size of the cycle lane in Henley Road. This is again a consequence of limited road space to work with in Reading.

“We would also always ask drivers opening car doors to check for cyclists in their wing mirrors, as required by the Highway Code,” he added.

But Reading Cycle Campaign says that another solution could be found to improve the safety of cyclists. Mr Lawson said: “The stupid thing is on the other side there is a very wide grass verge which could be converted into car parking. The council has so many grass verges they can’t maintain them all properly.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.