Bike Charity Criticises New Weston Cycle Lane

New Cycle Path in Weston-Super-Mare Does Not Meet Minimum Guidelines

17.01.2014

Representatives of Sustrans believe a new cycle lane set up in Weston-Super-Mare is not safe to use.

Speaking to BBC News, director of policy at the cycling charity Jason Torrance insisted the pathway - which is on a busy stretch of the A370 - does not meet minimum requirements.

It was built as part of a £15 million revamp of roads in the area, but the lane is just one metre wide. This is two metres short of the minimum guidelines set by the Department for Transport (DfT).

North Somerset Council representatives said cyclists should be grateful that they have a designated lane to use, with deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees stating that people need to bear in mind that there was no cycle access at all before the upgrades were made.

However, Mr Torrance labelled the route as "incredibly dangerous" and suggested it is worse than not having a cycle lane in the area.

"It's very clearly dangerous. I would ask the people who built this and designed it, 'would they cycle on there with their kids?' The almost certain answer would be no," he was quoted as saying.

Councils across the UK are being encouraged to introduce new provisions for cyclists, as the government continues to urge people to do their bit for the environment by using pedal power more frequently.

The recent spate of fatal accidents involving cyclists in London has done little to aid the government's cause, with many people voicing road safety concerns.

New technology is being developed in order to allay the fears of vulnerable road users. In December, it was announced that low-level traffic lights have been approved for use in the UK and will be trialled in London before potentially being rolled out across the country.

The DfT said 80 per cent of cyclists felt more comfortable when faced with the new traffic lights, as they found them easier to follow.

Expert Opinion
This is clearly a delicate issue in the local area and while it is welcome that cyclists have been considered, the issues raised are a concern which should be investigated further.

"Cyclists can be very vulnerable when travelling on roads and cycle lanes can play a vital role in keeping them safe from harm.

"There are guidelines which set out both recommendations and minimum widths. The problem with cutting back on space is that narrow lanes leave cyclists little room to manoeuvre around potholes, debris and other obstructions, and each other. If cyclists have to go into the traffic as a result, that defeats the point of having a cycling lane.

"The Cambridge Cycling Campaign website has some good information on this."
Neil Whiteley, Partner