Motorists' fury as cyclists IGNORE £150m cycle lane in Bournemouth

Motorists’ fury as cyclists IGNORE £150m cycle lane scheme in Bournemouth and pedal along the road – forcing drivers into oncoming traffic

  • A video shows a cyclist ignoring a new bike lane on the A347 in Bournemouth
  • In the clip, cars are forced to veer into oncoming traffic to overtake the cyclist
  • Motorists have expressed their fury that the £150m cycle lane is being ignored
  • People complained the lane makes the road too narrow for emergency vehicles
  • Have you spotted a cyclist failing to use the cycle lane? Please email [email protected]

A cyclist has caused outrage after forcing cars to veer around him on a busy-A road – failing to use the new £150million bike lane lying completely empty next to him.

Infuriating video footage, filmed by a car passenger, shows a row of cars slow down to a crawl behind the cyclist as he rides on the A347 Whitelegg Way in Bournemouth, Dorset.

In the clip, one car is forced to veer into the opposite lane to overtake the cyclist, who is using the road despite a wide cycle lane lying directly next to him.

The cycle lane has caused controversy since it opened last month, with many complaining that the new width of the road leaves no room for emergency vehicles to pass.

And motorists have now expressed their frustration after seeing the cyclist not making use of the new lane, instead occupying the newly narrowed road.

A spokesman for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council speculated that road work barriers obstructing the lane over Christmas may have been why the cyclist did not use the lane. They added that the barriers have been cleared. 

Infuriating video footage, filmed by a car passenger, shows a row of cars slow down to a crawl behind the cyclist as he rides on the A347 in Bournemouth, Dorset

The new cycle lane is part of a £150million ‘Transforming Cities’ scheme to create sustainable travel links across south east Dorset with others built in nearby Wimborne and Merley.

According to rule 63 of the Highway Code, the use of cycle lanes is not compulsory but it says they can help to make cyclists’ journeys safer.

It states: ‘Use of cycle lanes is not compulsory and will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer.’

The female passenger who recorded the footage said she ‘hardly ever’ sees the cycle lane being used, slamming it as a waste of money. 

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘I just couldn’t believe it – the situation definitely had me swearing a bit. It’s infuriating.

‘The road is already narrow with no room for drivers to let emergency vehicles pass and you have this cyclist ignoring the designated lane.

‘There were four to five cars in front of me and they were having to avoid the cyclist as well as oncoming traffic.

‘Some people have said that parts of the cycle way is still unfinished but it was definitely open and safe to use.

In the clip, one car is forced to veer into the opposite lane to overtake the cyclist, who is taking up the road despite a wide cycle lane lying directly next to him

‘My frustration is with the local council for the money spent on these cycle lanes when the whole infrastructure of the town needs urgent attention.

‘The whole of Bournemouth is turning into cycle lanes and there’s no room for cars anymore. I hardly ever see cyclists in the bike lane.

‘It’s hard enough for the emergency services as it is without the roads being like this. The council just doesn’t seem to listen to the public.’ 

Commenting on the footage on social media, Oman Khan fumed: ‘You spend money, labour, and cause road disruption to create one (cycle lane) and they don’t use it.’

Another person slammed the lane as a ‘waste of time and money’, while others said it was ‘ridiculous’ that people were not making use of the new lane.

But cyclist Ross Hodder hit back, saying: ‘Cycle lanes are optional to use so, whatever the reason this cyclist chose not to use the cycle lane, it is fine. Stop moaning everyone.’

A spokesman for BCP Council said they would review their temporary signage to make sure it was clear to cyclists that the lane is open and operational. Permanent signage has not yet been installed.

They told MailOnline: ‘We don’t know why the cyclist chose to ride on the road rather than use the cycleway along Whitelegg Way. 

‘Road work barriers blew over during the Christmas period obstructing sections of the cycleway so this may have been the reason; they have now been cleared. 

‘The sustainable travel improvements along Whitelegg Way are still under construction and permanent cycle route signage has not yet been installed. 

‘Cyclists may not be aware that the cycle lane is now open. We will review the temporary signage in place to ensure it is clear that the lane is operational.

Photographs shared last month showed the mayhem caused by the new road layout, with cars mounting concrete barriers in a bid to move out of the way of emergency services

The female passenger who recorded the footage said she ‘hardly ever’ sees the cycle lane being used, slamming it as a waste of money

The new cycle lane (pictured in use) is part of a £150m ‘Transforming Cities’ scheme to create sustainable travel links across south east Dorset with others built in Wimborne and Merley

‘One of the biggest concerns stopping people from cycling is their safety when using busy roads. Evidence shows that people will use bike infrastructure once it is built. 

‘A study found that in cities where bike infrastructure was added, cycling increased up to 48 percent more than in cities that did not add bike lanes.

‘Whilst there is no legal obligation for people to use cycle lanes, they are separated from traffic and therefore much safer for people cycling rather than using the same lane as traffic. 

‘We encourage people to use cycle lanes wherever possible and follow the Highway Code rules for cyclists. We will be carrying out campaigns around road user and cycle lane etiquette in due course, once the works along the route are complete.’

Speaking about the ‘Transforming Cities’ scheme, the spokesperson said that the cycle lane is the first part of a 13km walking, cycling and public transport route.

They continued: ‘The Transforming Cities Fund investment in infrastructure on Whitelegg Way should not be viewed in isolation – it is the first section of a 13km walking, cycling and public transport route that will link north Poole with Christchurch, providing residents with more choice on how to travel to work, education and local amenities, as well as easing road congestion and improving air quality. 

‘Once the entire route is constructed then the benefits of the Whitelegg Way section will be fully realised.’

Commenting on concerns that the road is not wide enough for emergency vehicles to pass safely, the BCP council spokesperson said the road adhered to the national standards. 

They added: ‘The carriageway on Whitelegg Way is between 6.4m and 6.6m wide, adhering to current national standards set by the Department for Transport. 

‘It is able to be used safely by all vehicles, including emergency services vehicles, and has undergone, and will continue to undergo, a number of independent road safety audits. 

The cycle lane has caused controversy since it opened last month, with many complaining that the new width of the road leaves no room for emergency vehicles to pass

‘The Transforming Cities Fund programme team are working with the emergency vehicle operators and have not received any objections about Whitelegg Way.

‘We recommend drivers follow the Highway Code when they encounter emergency vehicles using flashing lights Road users requiring extra care – Other vehicles (219 to 225) – THE HIGHWAY CODE (highwaycodeuk.co.uk).’ 

Photographs shared last month showed the mayhem caused by the new road layout, with cars mounting concrete barriers in a bid to move out of the way of emergency services. 

The A347 Whitelegg Way, which is on a main route to Bournemouth Hospital, has been narrowed to make room for the cycle lanes.

The lanes force ambulances to weave through traffic in rush hour and there are also visible tyre marks on the concrete kerb from where drivers were forced to mount it.

In November, a local firefighter broke ranks by warning that there was not enough room for fire engines to squeeze through.

The unnamed officer said: ‘Usually cars can part, even if it means bumping up on the kerb. The kerbs are massive now so they can’t do that.’

Stephen Bartlett, a local independent councillor, said: ‘In my view the new cycle lanes are a great example of how to waste millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.

‘We now have problems that are entireley self-inflicted.

‘I had concerns that the road would be too narrow once the cycle lanes had been put in and I raised them before the work started. I don’t think it is necessary to have cycle lanes on both sides of the carriageway.

‘I am not surprised (by the photos) as I am aware of concerns people have expressed on social media about the height of the kerbs and the problem with pulling out of the way.

Commenting on concerns that the A-road is not wide enough for emergency vehicles to pass safely, the BCP council spokesperson said the road adhered to the national standards

‘I think it will hold up emergency vehicles and it could be a serious issue as the road is part of a main route to the hospital.

‘It would be highly unlikely that any changes would be made to the road now it has been built.’

Jean McLucas, from nearby Merley, posted online: ‘We have just driven down it and I feel rather claustrophobic as you are actually hemmed in by the high kerbs on the nearside.

‘There is no ‘escape route’ to be able to move over out of the way of anything coming towards you on the wrong side of the road or even be able to move over to make a wider path to let emergency vehicles come through the middle.’

Chris Edwards, from Bournemouth, said: ‘Not sure how a fire engine could get through if the traffic is solid both ways as the curbs are too high to drive up to clear the way. Total waste of money and creating a potential danger.’

But a spokesperson for BCP Council insisted there was room for emergency vehicles to get through and said they do not advise cars to mount the kerb.

They said: ‘It is reassuring to see that vehicles are carefully moving to the side of the road creating space for the ambulance to pass. It is not necessary to mount the kerb and we would not advise any vehicle to do this.

‘The carriageway on Whitelegg Way is between 6.4m and 6.6m wide, adhering to current national standards set by the Department for Transport.

‘It is able to be used safely by all vehicles, including emergency services vehicles, and has undergone, and will continue to undergo, a number of independent road safety audits.

‘The Transforming Cities Fund programme team are working with the emergency vehicle operators and have not received any objections about Whitelegg Way.’

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