Changes have been made to a new footpath and cycleway in Yarm after a local councillor claimed it was dangerous. Cyclists and pedestrians had initially been given right of way where the path crossed a minor road, but Andrew Sherris suggested that this might be confusing for drivers and so the priority has since been changed.
Sherris – who was de-selected as Conservative candidate for Yarm this week – initially said of the crossing on the Levendale estate:
“As the path crosses Lingfield Road cyclists have priority and this is something new that I don’t think exists elsewhere. Such confusion could lead to a child or adult getting hurt or worse.
"The next crossing point is Mt Leven Road but here vehicular traffic has the priority. Signs are very close to the roads giving cyclists little time to stop and there are visibility issues for drivers travelling West along Lingfield Road and an absence of any safety barriers.
“I appreciate that the scheme has yet to have its safety audit and would hope that these problems can be reviewed.”
The Teeside Evening Gazette last week reported that these changes have now been implemented and cars once again have priority over bikes. Sherris, who is governor of the nearby Levendale school to which the path provides access, reacted by saying:
"I'm very pleased that having met with council officers the priority has been changed back to a more standard design that we experience elsewhere. There are still some issues that are being monitored, such as some indiscriminate parking.
"Overall, the scheme has been a great success, and we now have far more children coming to school on foot, bikes or scooters."
The path is part of £300,000 scheme which has been part-funded by Sustrans. Tom Bailey, Area Manager for Sustrans told BikeBiz:
“All modern guidance makes it clear that cycle tracks can and should take priority at minor roads, but we recognise that each Highway Authority will take a cautious approach when implementing this for the first time. We are aware that the scheme has been changed from our endorsed design and are working with Stockton council on this issue.”
Stockton-on-Tees council have footed the bill for the alterations.