Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Cars damaged and abandoned after drivers smash through newly installed protected cycle lane

Middlesbrough Council have now placed signs and plastic barriers around the bike lane to “help make motorists aware of the changes”

Middlesbrough Council has been forced to erect signs and barriers warning motorists about the installation of a new cycle lane in the town, after car bumpers – and even entire vehicles – were left strewn across the road by drivers ploughing straight on through the protected infrastructure.

The recently built bike lane was installed as part of plans for Six Centre Square, a new office block on Middlesbrough’s Grange Road.

According to the planning application, employees of insurance firm AXA UK will only be able to access the building by car from the adjacent Melrose Street. While previously Grange Road ran through the middle of a bike path, a section of the road has now been closed to motorists to allow for the installation of two planters protecting either side of the cycle lane.

The plans state that the changes will improve the situation for both pedestrians and cyclists in the area, allowing for the creation of a segregated connection between the cycleways on both sides of the road.

However, the new road layout and planters clearly weren’t enough to stop some seemingly unsuspecting motorists from driving straight over the cycle lane, damaging their cars in the process.

> Cyclist says motorists should be prevented from parking in bike lane “before someone gets killed”

Teeside Live reports that car parts, including a bumper, have been left chaotically strewn across the road in recent weeks, while another car was abandoned entirely after its driver smashed over the new planters, ridding the vehicle of much of its front.

The hastily discarded car then suffered the indignity of having its wheels removed and windows smashed in. It has since been taken away.

In response to the recent spate of car-planter collisions, Middlesbrough Council has now set up plastic barriers and road closure signs around the cycle lane, with the aim of preventing drivers from mistakenly using the entire length of the road.

“The Grange Road scheme has been installed in line with the design set out in the planning application,” a council spokesperson said.

“However, to assist during the early implementation stage, temporary signage and barriers have been put in place to help make motorists aware of the changes.”

> Extension to Middlesbrough protected cycle lane set to be scrapped due to safety concerns

The Grange Road cycle lane isn’t the first piece of protected cycling infrastructure in Middlesbrough to prove a hazard for other road users in recent months.

In January, the planned second phase of a protected cycle route in the town was scrapped due to safety concerns following several incidents in which pedestrians were injured after tripping on the Orca dividers that, together with wands, provide protection for the lane on Linthorpe Road.

Pedestrians who have sustained injuries after tripping on the dividers as they attempted to across the road include a 78-year-old woman who broke her wrist and was left with two black eyes after a fall last September, and Samantha Skene, aged 27, who fractured her elbow on a night out despite being, as she put it, “the most sober of the group”.

Besides pedestrians, a cyclist also sustained injuries when he was thrown over the handlebars of his bike after he clipped a divider.

> Pensioner left with broken wrist and black eye after tripping over cycle lane separator

In response to these safety concerns, the council, which insists the cycle lane was built in accordance with national guidelines, has begun replacing the Orcas with wands to minimise the chances of people tripping over as they cross the road.

But last month the borough’s mayor Andy Preston indicated that he has now withdrawn his support for the planned extension of the cycleway, which he voted for in April last year.

“I halted plans for a further extension of the cycle lane,” he said. “It’s officially been paused but there is no timescale to reintroduce it.

“Personally, and I think most people would agree, I’m struggling to see why we would extend it further – so it’s very unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future.”

Ryan joined as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

Latest Comments