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“Why on earth would I want to cycle on a waterlogged path?” Cyclist blasts new harbourside bike path

The cyclist claimed that the recently installed cycleway in Poole is “covered in debris” and that people on bikes would “be better off” on the adjacent pedestrian path

A cyclist has criticised a new harbourside path in Poole, claiming that it is susceptible to flooding and is constantly “covered in debris”.

Earlier this year, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (BCP) redeveloped the popular path from Whitecliff to Baiter, introducing a new segregated cycleway for people on bikes, which the council says will “create a safer environment for those travelling on foot or by bike”.

A public consultation on the project saw 88 percent of respondents call for separation between those walking and cycling, prompting the council to settle on a minimum separation of least 1.5m for the majority of the proposed route.

At the consultation stage the most controversial aspect of the proposal was the cycleway’s placement on the harbour-side of the route – 72 percent objected to this aspect of the plans – causing the council to switch the locations of the footpath and cycleway (though a last-minute petition to relocate the cycle path away from the waterside entirely failed).

> Petition to move cycle lane because cyclists will ride too fast

However, while many cyclists have praised the new path, describing it as “a beauty” and claiming that it will help encourage locals, especially children, to ride their bikes in the park, others aren’t as impressed.

One local cyclist told the Daily Echo that the path’s position has made it susceptible to flooding and that cyclists would be “better off” riding on the adjacent footpath.

Alluding to a photograph published by the Echo showing a significant section of the cycleway covered in water, while the footpath remains largely dry, the cyclist said: “You’ll notice that the cycle path, on the right, is flooded and covered in debris which is likely to cause punctures, whereas the pedestrian path is virtually dry and clean of debris.

“This is repeated in several sections along the new path. There doesn’t seem to be any provision for flooding, and the groundwork seems to work against the camber of the path and water run-off. I [have] watched several cyclists trying to avoid the lake.”

The cyclist, who did not wish to be named, continued: “As a keen cyclist, why on earth would I want to cycle on a waterlogged path, full of debris and risk having to renew inner tubes and even tyres, getting soaked in the process? I’d be better off cycling on the clean and dry pedestrian path.”

> Row over Dorset cycle lane that drivers claim is “too wide”

Responding to the complaint, a BCP spokesperson told the Echo that alternate routes though the park were considered during the consultation phase but that a desire to be sympathetic to the area’s green spaces meant that the waterfront paths were preferred.

“Earlier in the year we completed the installation of the widened footpath and cycle lane at the popular Whitecliff Recreation Park in Poole. This has created a safer route for people to walk and cycle,” the spokesperson said.

“We are aware that some small sections of the cycle path have been flooding at times of heavy rain and high tidal waters which has also spread some debris onto the path.

“We are currently arranging for further earthworks to be carried out to address the issues. However, due to the recent wet weather, this work has been challenging without causing further damage to the field. We have also organised for the path to be cleaned in these areas.”

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
1 like

Waterlogged?  Just wait till it freezes.

ooblyboo | 1 year ago

I live in a coastal area which has a shared path running along a shingle beach. It gets covered in stones sometimes when the weather is bad. But it's a beautiful stretch to cycle. That said, I'd love a segregated lane for cyclists because in good weather there are pedestrians everywhere and it can lead to conflict. I think getting upset because your segregated lane by the sea may occasionally get debris on it is a bit rich. Pick your battles - at least the infrastructure is there even if it isn't perfect.

Xenophon2 replied to ooblyboo | 1 year ago
1 like

+1 on the above, so there's a bit of water due to a drainage issue.  Cry me a river.  Some people will never be happy.  Place must be cyclists' heaven if this is worth getting worked up about.

chrisonabike replied to ooblyboo | 1 year ago

Depends.  Nice that they bothered of course.  This also might just be in the category of "footpaths" e.g. mostly for recreational use.. However looks like it could be a useful "route" for some folks - saving a longer detour via busier roads.

Also - do we always want people to drive to / for their recreation?

So if you're interested in a few more people not driving, then this might be concerning.

Don't know all the details here but it sounds like compromise over route has been compounded with compromise over construction, leading to something which now doesn't work all the time.

One thing I do know you're not likely to hear: "we spent 40 million on a bypass but regrettably sometimes part of it is under a lake.  You could get out of your car and walk those bits though..."

mitsky | 1 year ago
1 like

I'll see your water-logged bike path and raise you a lake.

Car Delenda Est | 1 year ago

Frustrating that drainage would be so easy with all those pebbles if the surface were rounded or sloped.

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