Fury as council tells cyclists to use main road rather than bike lane

Fury as council tells cyclists to use the WHOLE main road rather than dedicated 7ft-wide bike lane as drivers ask: ‘is there ANY room left for cars?’ after change in Highway Code

  • Cyclists are being encouraged to abandon a cycle lane in Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Instead, large bike signs have been painted on to a main road in the town centre
  • Council hopes making cyclists more ‘prominent’ will force traffic to slow down
  • Motorists believe the new road layout is the latest move to drive cars off the road

WHAT THE NEW HIGHWAY CODE RULES SAY

CYCLING 

 – Cyclists should ride in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings

 – Groups of cyclists can ride 2 abreast 

 – Cyclists should be aware of people driving behind them and allow them to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) 

PEDESTRIANS 

– When people are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, other traffic should give way  

– if people have started crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road, the people crossing have priority and the traffic should give way

– People driving, riding a motorcycle or cycling must give way to people on a zebra crossing and people walking and cycling on a parallel crossing 

Cyclists are being encouraged by council officials to ignore a dedicated cycle path and use a busy main road instead in an attempt to force traffic in the town centre to slow down. 

Although cyclists have the use of the 7ft wide bike lane alongside the A35 in Bournemouth, Dorset, large bike symbols have been painted on the main road as well.

Town hall officials want cyclists to take a ‘more prominent position’ in the middle of the road – which is located in the suburb of Boscombe – in order that passing traffic will notice them and be forced to slow down.

But the move has angered motorists, who claim the council has made the bike lane redundant while making cyclists think ‘they own the road’.

Steve Martin said: ‘You put cycle lanes in and then paint cycle symbols on main carriageway. Cyclists now seem to think they own all the road and won’t move over.’

Rob Copson said: ‘So now they’re encouraged to NOT use the cycle lane right next to them then?’

Donna Clarke said: ‘It should be in the Highway Code that cyclists must use cycle lanes if available. 

‘This is utterly ridiculous, causing tailbacks, delayed emergency vehicles and frayed tempers.’

Nick Beck said: ‘If there’s a dedicated cycle lane, why are they being directed to cycle in the main carriageway?’

Natalie Alexander said: ‘Any room left for cars?’

Cyclists in Bournemouth, Dorset, are being encouraged by the council to ignore a dedicated cycle path and use an entire main road instead

A spokesman for Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole (BCP) Council said: ‘We recently undertook carriageway resurfacing and have widened the cycle lanes in line with current standards.

‘The road markings highlighted are there to encourage cyclists to take a prominent position in the lane so therefore make them more visible to other motorists.’

Motorists believe the new road layout is the latest move by the authorities to drive cars off the road.

In 2019, BCP Council declared a climate emergency, pledging to make all its operations carbon neutral by 2030.

On its website officials boast to have ‘improved the safety of cyclists and walkers at key transport locations using the £312,000 Government Emergency Active Travel grant.’

Although cyclists have the use of the 7ft wide bike lane alongside the A35 in Bournemouth, Dorset, large bike symbols have been painted in the middle of the road as well

And following a survey of its staff, there has also been a decrease in them commuting to work as they prefer to work from home on the back of the pandemic.

Last year, BCP Council caused more controversy by spending £102m on building two cycle lanes alongside a main road that motorists claim leaves them with no room to make way for emergency vehicles.

The two new bike lanes are protected from traffic by 6ins tall raised kerbs.

Drivers say the new narrow road layout leaves them hemmed-in and have nowhere to go when an ambulance or fire engine needs to get past.

Earlier this year changes in the Highway Code came into force that allow cyclists to ride in the middle of quieter roads and ride two abreast.

Mail Online has contacted BCP Council for comment.

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