Safety concerns over cycle lane between Coalpit Heath and Yate

A CONTROVERSIAL cycle lane system between Coalpit Heath and Yate is still missing a safety feature – 14 months after it was built.

Raised bike lanes alongside a mile-long stretch of the A432 between Yate and Nibley have been criticised as hard to see in the dark or wet weather.

They should have been painted green soon after installation in January last year but the delay was among 14 “safety problems” highlighted in an audit published in September.

South Gloucestershire Council says all measures will be carried out “in the required timeframe”.

But the situation has been labelled a “shambles” by a councillor.

Cyclist Tony Sharp, a member of the council’s Cycle Forum, said while the new cycle lanes were welcome, they had draw backs.

He said: “When driving the route at night, and in particular in the recent bad weather, the kerb defining the new cycleway doesn’t seem to be that clear. The cycleway and resurfaced road, both new black tarmac, can easily blend into each other.”

The audit also highlighted areas where debris and gravel became trapped by ramps on and off the cycle lanes – potentially causing skid risks for riders.

Tony said: “The cycleways do seem to stop and start a lot for driveways, and at those points there is a lot of silt and general rubbish building up – a puncture danger.”

South Gloucestershire Council says it will carry out regular street cleaning to prevent debris building up.

Other problems related to risks of collisions caused by motorists being confused by old white line markings left on the road, missing bollards and missing markings.

Yate Town councillor Chris Willmore called the cycle paths a “shambles”.

She said that even by March this year, many of the points raised by last September’s safety audit had not been addressed with work.

Councillor Willmore also said the narrow carriageway caused by the cycle lanes was a concern, as wide lorries and buses now passed within two feet of each other.

She said: “We want a route that is safe for everyone. 

“South Gloucestershire needs to get on and do what the safety audit says. 

“We have an A-road surrounded by fields, with lots of heavy lorries and buses, which is now only just wide enough for them to pass, with a 50cm gap.

“We have to hope vehicles don’t end up hitting each other.”

South Glos Liberal Democrat group leader Claire Young said the green painting was needed to make the edges of the cycle lanes clearer and appeared in the original plans, so she was disappointed it had not been done last year.

She said: “I have been approached by cyclists who are concerned that if they do not see the edge, they could slip off into the road, or lorries could mount the kerb onto the cycle lane. 

“It feels like money wasted that they have had to come back and make changes.”

The new raised cycle lanes were built by the council on both sides of a one-mile stretch of the A432 Badminton Road between Nibley and Coalpit Heath early last year.  

The cycle lanes resulted in the carriageway being narrowed – which meant regulations came into force downgrading it from 40mph to 30mph.

They are part of a four-stage plan to improve connections for cyclists and pedestrians between Yate and the A4174 Avon Ring Road, four miles away. More are planned.

A spokesperson for South Gloucestershire Council said: “Dedicated cycle lanes have been installed which are raised from the road surface and will help to keep cyclists segregated from traffic. 

“The scheme has been supported by (transport charity) Sustrans and has been implemented around national guidelines for the design of high-quality, safe cycle infrastructure. 

“It is standard practice for a road safety audit to be carried out following the completion of schemes such as this, so that any opportunities to improve safety are identified and implemented. 

“Following the audit, we have been carrying out the work in the required time-frame and it will be finished in the coming weeks.”