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Bristol bike lane bollards to be replaced within weeks

Damage caused by drivers crashing into and mounting bollards means heavier-duty solution needed

Bristol City Council was forced to install temporary barriers on a new bike lane to protect cyclists after a series of drivers crashing into and mounting "innovative" concrete bollards caused significant damage, which resulted in two injuries, according to the council.

The Toby bollards, used on the new "Dutch-style" Clarence Road bike lane alongside the River Avon in Bristol, are commonly seen in Europe, but appear not to be strong enough to withstand life on a busy British A road.

Although the bollards were only installed this month, work will start in early November to replace them with more expensive but sturdier kerbs, a move criticised locally, but defended by campaigners who say councils have a duty to trial cheaper options that haven't yet been used in the UK.

Bristol bike lane bollards: "If they're stopping cars they're doing their job"

Peter Mann, Service Director for Transport, told the work will fall within the project's original budget.

“The cycle lane on Clarence Road was the first of its kind in the city with an innovative type of bollard which we hoped would provide a facility to separate cyclists from traffic and pedestrians at a low cost," he said.

“We often use methods from other countries, particularly the Netherlands, and this method has been done successfully overseas, but unfortunately the new bollards are more vulnerable to impact from vehicles than expected.

Mann said the temporary barriers will allow cyclists to continue to use the route, and work will start in early November to replace the bollards with "robust kerbs".

 “The area is safe but of course has risks and there have been two incidents where people have been injured, which officers are currently investigating," said Mann.

He said the protected cycle lane is still an attractive alternative to sharing the road with a high volume of motorised vehicles.

Bristol plans £35 million spend on cycleway network

Mann pointed to Bristol's history of cycling innovation, including its being the first UK city to trial advanced stop lines at traffic light junctions, as helping Bristol achieve one of the highest cycling rates of a major UK city, with 18 million bike trips made per year.

A recent survey by Sustrans found 89 per cent of people who do not cycle supported an increase in protected bike lanes, with 83 per cent of occasional riders and 86 per cent of regular riders also in support. Around two thirds of those living in Bristol (68 per cent) think the city would be better if people in general cycled more.

In 2013 Bristol was awarded funds from the Government's Cycle City Ambition Fund, as well as cycle funding from a number of other schemes. Mann says the council will continue to trial new cycling measures as part of their £4m cycling investment.

“It is important for us to continue that commitment to reduce congestion and pollution," he said.

Additional delays to completion of the Clarence Road route were caused by replacement of a water main by Bristol Water, and the collapse of the river wall as a result of flooding.

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