Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Is this Britain's deadliest bike lane? Route takes cyclists down 'suicide alley' down the MIDDLE of a road . . .

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Is this Britain's deadliest bike lane? Route takes cyclists down 'suicide alley' down the MIDDLE of a road

  • Lane in Reading, Berkshire, has been criticised by cyclists and drivers
  • Cyclists taken towards the middle of the road, past parking bays
  • Fears raised that someone opening car door could knock over a rider
  • Transport chiefs say newly-painted lane 'meets design guidance'
Cited at:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2728248/Is-Britains-deadliest-bike-lane-Path-takes-cyclists-suicide-alley-streams-traffic.html

A new bike lane has been dubbed 'suicide alley' by cyclists who say it takes them towards the middle of a road and past hazards including parking bays.

Transport chiefs in Reading, Berkshire, say the layout of the newly-painted cycle lane ‘meets design guidance and is aimed at accommodating all road users’.

However, neighbours living nearby have complained that the lane takes cyclists dangerously close to oncoming traffic, and that cars passing in the road have no option but to cross into the cycle lane.


Dangerous? A new bike lane has been dubbed 'suicide alley' by cyclists who say it takes them towards the middle of a road and past hazards including parking bays



Design: Transport chiefs in Reading, Berkshire, say the layout of the newly-painted cycle lane 'meets design guidance and is aimed at accommodating all road user'

They have also expressed fears that anyone opening the door of a parked car, without checking their mirrors first, could knock a rider into the path of oncoming cars, lorries and buses.

Adrian Lawson, chairman of the Reading Cycle Campaign, said the new lane is potentially deadly.

'It is disgraceful. Government notes say you shouldn’t put in a cycle lane if it is going to make matters more dangerous,' he said.

'There is no buffer zone which means if someone opens a door of a parked car the cyclist is knocked off, so riders are forced to stay outside the cycle lane which is going to upset following motorists.'

Mr Lawson suggested a wide grass verge could be converted to allow for more off-road car parking, and improve the area for cyclists.

One motorist, Caroline Downs, said: 'Reading road planners seem to have very little thought for cyclists these days and even less for the motorists.


Route: Cyclists say there is no room for two vehicles to pass on the road without crossing into the cycle lane


Fear: Neighbours living nearby have complained that the lane takes cyclists dangerously close to oncoming traffic

'The law says you cannot drive in a cycle way, but with cycle paths on both sides of this road, one almost in the middle of the road, there is hardly room for two cars without driving in the said cycle path.

'God knows what will happen if two larger vehicles come towards each other. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Another driver said: 'This new cycle lane has been painted on the northbound side to join the one that was already there on the Reading-bound side.

'The absence of centre lane markings and a narrow section near the traffic lights means Henley and Reading-bound traffic is now vying for the same bit of road.'

A string of comments have also been left on the Caversham Gossip Girls Facebook page with one member complaining she was almost hit by another car driving on her side of the road, while one cyclist said they would be using the pavement because it is safer.


Guidance: A council spokesman said the lanes were there for 'guidance', and that road users should be aware of others around them


Worry: Fears have been raised that anyone opening the door of a parked car, without checking their mirrors first, could knock a rider into the path of oncoming cars, lorries and buses

Council spokesman Anna Fowler defended the layout.
'The omission of centre lines from urban roads is encouraged by central government as it has a positive impact on reducing vehicle speed,' she said.

'The overall width of Lower Henley Road has not been reduced, but a cycle lane has been added to accommodate cyclists travelling up the hill.

'It is an advisory cycle lane, which means it is there for guidance only. It does not mean road users - whether cyclists or motorists - should stop being aware of each other as they travel along Lower Henley Road.

'The width of the Lower Henley Road - with the added cycle lane - meets the design guidance if the council were building a new road.

'Apart from playing an important role in drainage, the grass verge to the side of the road is banked in parts which means it could not all be removed to accommodate a cycle lane.

'We would also always ask drivers opening car doors to check for cyclists in their wing mirrors, as required by the Highway Code.

'The parking bay along the road was provided following local surveys. The layout will be monitored and reviewed over time however and alterations could be considered in the future.'


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