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“Recipe for disaster” – Bournemouth cycle lane invites cyclists to ride between car doors and oncoming traffic

Council engineers cycled the route as part of safety assessment

A new Bournemouth cycle lane that directs cyclists the wrong way down a one-day street before ending at a row of parked cars has been criticised by campaigners. Cycling UK says the layout is an example of why the Government needs to adopt national design standards for cycling infrastructure.

The Bournemouth Echo has published photos of the painted lane on Curzon Road.

One motorist told the newspaper that she had narrowly avoided a collision with a cyclist coming towards her, describing the layout as ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

“It isn’t a lane, it’s a green strip directing cycles into the path of oncoming cars,” she said.

Sam Jones, Senior Campaigns Officer at Cycling UK, said: “Looking at these photos, this is a pretty dreadful and dangerous bit of planning, no matter the good intentions the council might have had.

“Due to parked cars on both sides and the narrowness of the road, anyone cycling along Curzon Road will face the dual perils of being car-doored and being placed into conflict with the oncoming traffic. Either way in its current format it looks like a recipe for disaster.

“It’s a perfect example why the Government must adopt national design standards for cycling infrastructure, rather than letting local authorities try to figure it out for themselves. Not only would it prevent dangerous design like this, but also it would prevent money being wasted.”

Jones said that contraflow lanes for cycling can and do work safely across the country, but only on roads wide enough to accommodate both a cyclist and a vehicle.

He added: “Looking at the narrowness of the road, currently people cycling will be forced to cycle very close to the parked cars on the left hand side of the picture. This runs contrary to all cycle training which teaches people cycling to give a wide berth of parked cars to prevent being car-doored.”

Richard Pearson, Bournemouth Borough Council’s highway design and road safety manager, said: “We implemented this scheme following requests from the local cycle forum who have indicated that they are satisfied with the arrangement.

“Engineers also undertook a safety assessment of this arrangement prior to proceeding including cycling the route.

“There are some additional signs still to be installed to highlight the presence of cyclists and we will monitor the safety performance of the route.

“The opening up of one-way streets into contraflow cycle routes is now common practice in the UK and local authorities are being actively encouraged by the Department for Transport to do this, as a result of new legislation which makes this more achievable by councils where suitable.

“Contraflow routes are designed to help directness of routes for cycling across the borough to encourage more people to leave motor vehicles at home for short trips where possible, especially school trips.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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