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South Gloucestershire Council builds unsafe cycle path (+video)

Auditors said path should not be constructed until planned subway was built and in use

A cycle path has been built in Stoke Gifford despite it having been deemed unsafe by auditors when it was first proposed. South Gloucestershire Council said that the route will not be signed until other nearby elements have also been put in place and the route as a whole is ready to use.

The shared use path runs along Church Road and the auditors’ concerns centre on the point at which it meets Brierly Furlong.

A new subway under the railway line is planned to link the path with the entrance to nearby Parkway Station. However, road safety auditors concluded that until that is built the location of the dropped kerb would pose a risk to cyclists as well as to pedestrians with visual or mobility impairments.

Local cyclist Harry Stoke pointed out to that it would also be a difficult manoeuvre to get onto the cycle path from the road when approaching from the direction of the station.

Stoke put in a freedom of information request for the safety audit, which said:

“The auditors are concerned that the shared use path will lead cyclists (travelling from east to west) to a location which will mean they either have to cross Brierly Furlong or use the very narrow footway under the railway bridge, both of which will increase the risk of a cyclist being hit by a passing vehicle. In addition the installation of a pair of dropped kerbs and tactile paving at the mini roundabout may encourage pedestrians with visual or mobility impairments to cross the road from south to north to gain access to the station, in preference to the signed route via the signalised crossing on Brierly Furlong.”

The auditors recommended that the shared use path not be constructed until the subway was in place and ready for use. “If this is not possible, the new route should not be signed and the proposed dropped kerbs adjacent to the mini roundabout should not be installed to prevent the route being advertised as suitable for use by cyclists and pedestrians approaching from its east end.”

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said:

“This work is part of the Emersons Green to Cribbs Causeway Cycle Trunk Route, an ambitious ten-year programme which will provide a high quality cycle route connecting key employment, travel and residential locations through the area.

“With a programme of this nature, it is essential that we take every opportunity to source the necessary funding to deliver the overall scheme, even if that means delivering the route in sections. We have involved the local Cycle Forum who have received regular updates on this section of the route.

“The results of the Road Safety Audit were taken into account when designing the Church Road scheme, and after careful consideration, the decision was taken to carry out the infrastructure work, but not sign the route for shared use until the adjacent elements of the Cycle Trunk Route are delivered.

“We are at a relatively early stage of the Cycle Trunk Route project and we are actively working with Network Rail on developing proposals for a subway for pedestrians and cyclists under the rail line which would connect with Church Road.”

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