A Somerset town's "optical illusion" cycle lane, branded a "failed experiment" by Jacob Rees-Mogg, is back in the press today as the high street infrastructure is set to be improved with works, however the colouring and depth — issues locals have claimed are causing the problems — do not seem to be being addressed.
Keynsham's cycle lane made headlines in the spring as a Freedom of Information request by a councillor revealed that as many as 59 injuries had been caused by the infrastructure, with both cyclists and pedestrians reportedly struggling with the similarly coloured sections and depths that "look exactly the same".
The noise around the "optical illusion" saw tabloid photographers sent to snap pictures of pedestrians tripping on the kerb and even saw Conservative MP for North East Somerset Jacob Rees-Mogg calling for the high street's return to a two-way street". "This experiment has failed," he said.
For the next two weeks, June 5 to June 22, the lane is to undergo maintenance to repair broken paving slabs and replace bollards and cycle stands, works a councillor says have been "scheduled for some time".
"The works to repair the broken paving slabs and replace cycle stands and bollards have been scheduled for some time," Councillor Paul Roper said.
"We are conscious of the concerns about trips and falls linked to the cycle lane and so it's understandable that people may wonder what is happening when contractors arrive."
In a sign of how the town's cycle lane story has reached the wider, less cycling-orientated media, Cllr Roper was speaking to Lad Bible and said that concerns about injuries would be taken seriously.
"[The council has] already acted by introducing the red coloured cycle lane finish that has reduced the number of reported incidents significantly," he said, explaining that once the works are complete a design assessment will take place to decide if extra improvements are needed to reduce injury risk.
So far 21 people have pursued legal action against Liberal Democrat-run Keynsham Council having claimed to have been injured by the lane, with seven of the personal injury compensation claims being rejected. The remaining 14 are under investigation.
"There can be no other local authority in the country that has created a development that has succeeded in seriously injuring 59 people at least and have done nothing to address the situation," Conservative councillor Alan Hale said.
"We are elected to make our community safe, not to inflict significant injuries. To make it safe we need the administration and officers to take positive action, not sit on their hands."
One person who tripped on the day it opened said, "There is some kind of optical illusion. There is a pale coloured kerb and a pale coloured line that look exactly the same."
It should go back to being a two way street. This experiment has failed.https://t.co/WFHQpj8HHl
— Jacob Rees-Mogg (@Jacob_Rees_Mogg) April 26, 2023
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.