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.”