Cycle Lane Condemned As Dangerous

New Route In Reading Is Too Narrow, Say Campaigners

20.08.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
A cycle lane installed by Reading Borough Council to make the town more rider-friendly appears to have done anything but.

Campaigners have said the route on Lower Henley Road, Caversham is too narrow, particularly as it is situated adjacent to where cars are habitually parked.

According to the Reading Cycle Campaign, the narrowness of the track means riders will have insufficient space between a car door opened by a driver who has just parked and the highway on the other side.

Chairman Adrian Lawson told the BBC: "It's an accident waiting to happen. A cyclist is going to get knocked off by a door opening and could get knocked into the path of a following car.

"So it's not only making it less convenient for cyclists, it's making it more dangerous."

He also noted in an interview with the Reading Post that the cycle lane is only 1.2 metres wide, whereas the recommended minimum is 1.5 metres. Mr Lawson suggested the solution would be to make the grass verge beside the road much narrower so that this space could accommodate parked cars and make it possible to widen the cycle lane.

The organisation has also complained that it was not consulted by the council when it established the cycle lane.

Speaking to the BBC, councillor Ricky Duveen of the local authority's cycle forum acknowledged there is a technical problem with the width of its highways.
He said: "We have a huge difficulty in Reading on a number of roads, where we have to try and get cyclists in and out of town along some very narrow and congested roads."

Mr Duveen said he wanted to see a 20 mph speed limit on Lower Henley Road.

The Reading situation could have implications for future road design, as the creation of highways with both cyclists and roadside parking in mind could necessitate that they are wider than has historically been the case.

A parliamentary report into incidences of riders being killed or seriously injured between 2005 and 2011 showed that the last of those years was the worst for Reading.

Both of the town's parliamentary constituencies saw 11 such incidents in 2011, more than their combined total in any of the previous six years.

Expert Opinion
“New schemes designed to improve safety for cyclists are a welcome move, but these cycling infrastructure additions must be implemented correctly and make conditions safer for vulnerable road users. It is troubling to hear that the cycle track in Reading may actually be increasing the danger cyclists are exposed to.

“We all too often see the serious and life-changing injuries that can be experienced by vulnerable road users involved in collisions with vehicles. It is vital the concerns about this particular scheme are investigated fully and any future plans for cycle tracks are implemented in a way that boosts safety for cyclists, rather than putting them in greater danger.”
Jonathan Peacock, Partner