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.”
They'll never solve those roads with this bridge, it just gets you round the wet dock across the lock gates, they need another bridge to get across...
The website shows 318 bikes (types), so quite alot, and as you say, all kinds of bikes. However, that would be an average of 100-ish of each type!...
Very slowly...I assumed that he must have got back in the car and the driver followed the cyclist until he stopped.
I don't know about Nigel, but I have certainly read the hitchens article (not the Twitter storm), and broadly agree with it....
I'd tend to agree, fully pedestrianised areas work precisely because of the homogeneity. People are accustomed to, and surprisingly good at,...
You do so much of it yourself, it would be sad if you didn't recognise it.
You don't want padding, you want comfort. To me the shorts with a bit less padding work well, my favourites are any castelli with the progetto air...
I doubt the "any" with the "easily". Which is the point, many riders, especially riding upright Dutch bikes, wearing regular everyday clothes, will...
Perhaps if the driver sees someone on the right-hand side of the road about to throw a brick at a cyclist ahead of their vehicle, but it's quite a...
Thanks Jamie, good advice, will give it a try!