Fury has erupted over a new supersized cycle highway on a busy A-road which has given cyclists and pedestrians more space than lorries.
Pedestrians and cyclists now enjoy a whopping 33ft of space beside the newly revamped section of the A3049 – a major route in and out of Bournemouth, Dorset.
But the scheme has left lorries, vans, cars and emergency vehicles with just 21ft of space – a meagre 10ft 6in per lane.
Council chiefs say the 9ft 5in wide cycle lanes, installed along a mile-long stretch of Wallisdown Road in Poole, have been made deliberately large in order to ‘protect cyclists from road users’.
But critics have slammed the scheme – part of a £1million sustainable transport project – claiming that the new bike highways are hardly being used by cyclists.
They also warn that cars are having to mount the cycle lane in order to get out of the way of emergency vehicles.
But critics have slammed the scheme, claiming that the new bike highways are hardly being used by cyclists. They also warn that cars are having to mount the cycle lane in order to get out of the way of emergency vehicles (pictured)
The pair of two-way cycle lanes, which are 9.5ft wide, have been laid either side of a busy A-road. Next to them are two pavements for pedestrians
Pedestrians and cyclists now enjoy a whopping 33ft of space along the A3049 – a major route in and out of Bournemouth in Dorset
The controversial new road layout means that cyclists and walkers enjoy a combined 33ft of room while the carriageway for cars, lorries and emergency vehicles has been narrowed to 10ft 6in per lane
And the criticism isn’t just coming from die-hard motorists. Martin Hiscock, who regularly cycles along the road to visit his father, admitted they were too wide.
The 41-year-old, from Christchurch, said: ‘I don’t know why there needs to be two on both sides of the road.
‘You’ve got loads of lorries which come up and down here – I don’t know whether they (the council) are trying to slow down traffic to make things safer.
Martin Hiscock, who regularly cycles along the road to visit his father, admitted they were too wide. The 41-year-old, from Christchurch, said: ‘I don’t know why there needs to be two on both sides of the road.’
‘I’ve never known a cycle lane to be this big. I think it’s far too much. Normally they’re the width of a pathway.’
The sea of bright red Tarmac on the A3049, which is one of the main routes into Bournemouth, Dorset, is part of a £1million plan to make travel more sustainable across south east Dorset.
It is separate to the government’s controversial Transforming Cities Fund which is also paying to create four ‘cycle highways’ connecting Christchurch, Bournemouth, Ferndown, and Poole.
The pair of two-way cycle lanes, which are 9ft 5in wide, have been laid either side of the busy A-road. Next to them are two pavements for pedestrians, which are both around 7ft wide.
The new road layout means that cyclists and walkers enjoy a combined 33ft of room while the carriageway for cars, buses, lorries and emergency vehicles has been narrowed to 10ft 6in per lane.
Part one of the project, focusing on a section of road between Mountbatten Arms roundabout and Benbow Crescent, has now been complete, with another stretch of the road due to be finished in later 2022.
However, despite the busy road now being made more ‘bike friendly’, one 38-year-old local office worker said he rarely saw the cycle lanes being used.
The office worker, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘For something so wide there is far less bike traffic than you would expect. You just don’t see the volume of cyclists it was designed for.
‘The whole thing looks unsightly and a mess.’
One driver, who works at the Territorial Army barracks on the road, also said the new layout had proved confusing for users.
The sea of bright red Tarmac on the A3049, which is one of the main routes into Bournemouth, Dorset, is part of a £1million plan to make travel more sustainable across south east Dorset. It is separate to the government’s controversial Transforming Cities Fund which is also paying to create four ‘cycle highways’ connecting Christchurch, Bournemouth, Ferndown, and Poole. Pictured: The road while works were in place and slide right to see the road now
The pair of two-way cycle lanes, which are 9ft 5in wide, have been laid either side of the busy A-road. Next to them are two pavements for pedestrians, which are both around 7ft wide
Boris Johnson’s war on drivers: PM plans to INCREASE number of hated car-free ‘low traffic neighbourhoods’
Boris Johnson plans to increase the number of controversial low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNS) under his green drive despite claims that they do not work.
The Prime Minister’s long-awaited net zero strategy today set out an ambition for more LTNs along with thousands of miles of new segregated cycle lanes in UK towns and cities.
It includes a ‘vision’ to make cycling and walking amount for half of all journeys made in urban areas by the end of the decade to improve congesting and air quality.
However the scheme is likely to spark fury as LTNs have been accused of making little impact on pollution and simply moving congestion and emissions to other areas.
Emergency services have also said they impact on their ability to respond to incidents quickly, although studies have also shown they have helped to reduce injuries to pedestrians and car passengers in areas where they have been introduced.
Some 2000 have been introduced during the pandemic, involving installing cycle lanes, closing off roads to through traffic and widening pavements.
The driver, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Several people have already driven out of the barracks and almost hit cyclists because they don’t realise it’s a cycle lane as there is a lack of markings or signage. It’s often in the evening when its dark and they’re riding with barely any lights.
‘It gets busy here with parents dropping off cadets, troops coming and going. It is extremely dangerous. There’s a lack of attention and foresight for the whole plan.’
A spokesman for Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council claimed there had been a 40 per cent increase in bike usage since the new paths were opened.
They said: ‘The Wallisdown corridor improvements aims to improve safety and encourage more people to walk or cycle in the area.
‘The carriageway will be between 6.4m (20ft 9in) and 6.6m (21ft 6in) wide, adhering to current national standards set by the Department for Transport for the provision of safer roads for walking and cycling whilst maintaining enough space for larger vehicles such as HGVs and buses.
‘It will continue to be able to be used safely by all vehicles, including fire engines and will continue to undergo a number of independent road safety audits.
‘The cycle lanes are constructed to Department for Transport standards for two-way cycle lanes.
‘A narrower carriageway naturally encourages reduced and safer vehicle speeds, which helps to bring speeds in line with the new reduced speed limit of 30mph.
‘The cycle tracks are defined with sloping kerbs which will allow general vehicles to occasionally drive onto the cycle track and offer safe and quick passage of emergency vehicles.
‘Our region suffers from crippling traffic congestion. Bournemouth is the third most congested place in the UK, and 56th most congested in the world.’
Nigel Hedges, chairman of Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council, said the cycle lanes protected cyclists from road users.
Nigel Hedges, chairman of Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council, said the cycle lanes protected cyclists from road users
A van parked in the cycle lane doesn’t manage to fill the full width. Residents have fumed because the scheme means the cycle and footpaths together are wide than the road itself
Campaigners call for London’s controversial ULEZ to be scrapped after study showed it only minimally cut pollution –
Campaigners have called for London’s ‘money-grabbing’ Ultra Low Emissions Zone to be scrapped after scientists warned it has barely had any impact on improving the capital’s dirty air in the month after it launched.
Researchers from Imperial College London say the controversial scheme – which was last month expanded and made 18 times bigger – is not effective on its own.
The team looked at the level of pollutants over a 12-week period, starting before and ending after the ULEZ was launched by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in April 2019.
They found just a 3 per cent reduction in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels over this time, and ‘insignificant’ drops in levels of ozone (O3), which can damage the lungs, and tiny particles of dirt and liquid called PM2.5 that are thought to reach the brain.
Amazingly, at some sites around the capital, air pollution actually worsened, despite the ULEZ coming into force.
These new findings show that the ULEZ – which costs drivers of diesel vehicles that do not comply a whopping £12.50/day – is ‘not a silver bullet’ in tackling air pollution. It comes less than a month after London’s ULEZ zone was widened to include all areas within the North and South Circular roads, catching another 130,000 drivers.
Hugh Bladon, from the Alliance of British Drivers, called ULEZ ‘ridiculous’ and suggested it should be scrapped.
‘There is a mindset in this country of having a hatred of people driving around in cars and vans – they don’t seem to realise that people need to get about,’ he told MailOnline.
‘If you’ve got to go in five days a week it’s going to cost more than £60 – that is ridiculous. And the biggest problem is it hits those who can least afford it, as better-off people are able to buy newer cars.
‘This is an example of officials trying to rob motorists of whatever pennies they have in their pockets.’
But Shirley Rodrigues, London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, told MailOnline that the study was ‘very misleading’ and its findings had been ‘queried by experts within the university’, adding that the ULEZ had already helped cut toxic roadside nitrogen dioxide pollution by nearly half since it first launched.
He said: ‘If people keep having accidents, they are going to keep narrowing the roads so that motorists can’t hurt anyone – these cycle lanes are keeping cyclists safe from the traffic.’
Though there is no official rule on how wide a road should be in the UK, Highways England recommends that traffic lanes be at least 11ft 9in wide.
Earlier this year, in nearby Wimborne, in Dorset, residents took aim at what is believed to be one of Britain’s widest cycle lanes.
The cycle path, which is 11ft 2in across, leaves buses, lorries and emergency vehicles with 9ft 5in wide lanes and has forced drivers to pull over to avoid crashing into oncoming traffic.
Despite being more than half as wide as the two-lane road, cyclists are still using the regular carriageway instead of the freshly-created bike lane.
Residents in the Dorest market town of Wimborne reported lorries clipping wing mirrors as they pass each other, angry motorists shouting at cyclists for not using the path and cars veering into the oncoming lane to avoid bicycles.
A 38-year-old woman, who works at garage on the B3073, said in August: ‘There’s more room now for cyclists than there is for drivers.
‘We have a Jewsons building merchants on the road that lorries use all the time.
‘There is the same amount of traffic going in and out of the town, but now half the amount of space.
‘Cyclists who are still using the road are getting abuse from drivers – even those on the opposite side of the road.’
A 62-year-old man, who has lived in a house beside the cycle path for decades, said his front garden was seized by the local council 60 years ago to make the road wider.
‘Now, he is perplexed by their decision to do the opposite.
Speaking back in August, he said: ‘Back in the 1960s, the council took away our front gardens to make the road wider and safer – now they have narrowed it again at a time when traffic is far heavier than it was then.
‘People here are not very happy with the over exaggeration of the cycle path.
‘We were never informed and no letters came through our letter box about it. I noticed one morning in January that they were building it.
‘A neighbourhood consultation asked how the area could be improved and whether cycle routes could be better, which many people agreed to without understanding the details of what would be built.
‘The whole thing is just a big gamble
‘It is the main road into Wimborne and the width could cause real issues for emergency vehicles because the layby has been removed.
A 62-year-old man, who has lived in a house beside the cycle path for decades, said his front garden was seized by the local council 60 years ago to make the road wider. Now, he is perplexed by their decision to do the opposite
The cycle lane was today condemned as ‘shambles’ by local residents with drivers having to pull over to avoid crashing
The cycle path is part of a £120million scheme to make travel more sustainable and reduce congestion in Dorset. Once completed, it will be 1.4 miles long and connect to a 16-mile route linking Poole, Wimborne and Ferndown
‘Around 50 per cent of the vehicles on the road are trade and heavy goods vehicles. It’s chaos. In the past you could overtake a bike whereas now you can’t safely do this.
‘At the moment lots of cyclists are still using the carriageway because there are obstructions further down the new cycle lane. You have to go into the opposite lane to avoid them.’
However, the AA said the cycle lane should make it safer for cyclists. Its spokesman Jack Cousins said: ‘The cycle lane actively encourages drivers to look out for cyclists and maintain a safe distance.
‘From a design point of view, they could have made equal room for both cyclists and drivers and built some kind of barrier or raised curb to separate the cycle lane. That may encourage cyclists to use it instead of the carriageway.’
The cycle path is part of a £120million scheme to make travel more sustainable and reduce congestion in Dorset.
It will be 1.4 miles long and connect to a 16-mile route linking Poole, Wimborne and Ferndown. The lane is one of four routes being built in the county, part-funded by £100million from the Government’s Rebuilding Cities programme.
A Dorset Council spokesman said: ‘Almost 80km of new cycle lanes, pedestrian pavements, and bus service improvements are being constructed in south east Dorset. They form a major part of the region’s Transforming Travel programme.
‘This programme is looking to promote change in the way people travel by providing safe infrastructure for alternative, green forms of transport and encouraging people to leave the car at home, particularly for shorter journeys.’
No left turn: Couple are forced to pay £12.50 just to turn left out of their driveway because their home is right on the edge of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Ultra Low Emission Zone
A couple have told of their anger at having to pay a £12.50 ULEZ charge every time they turn left out of their driveway.
George and Vera Dowler’s home is unfortunately positioned right on the low emission zone border in Eltham in south east London.
They face a cash charge any time they drove their older cars past the traffic lights near their home after last’s month’s expansion of ULEZ in their area.
George and Vera Dowler have been left unhappy wit the ULEZ since its expansion
The couple say these cameras on the traffic lights outside their home in Eltham, south east London, pictured, catch out older cars
It has left to George shelling out ‘nearly £40,000’ on new vehicles while his wife Vera has been forced to park her older vehicle, which does not meet ULEZ standards, at her work’s garage around the corner.
The couple have lived in their south east London house for 32 years but now found themselves right on the edge of the ULEZ boundary when rules changed.
While their house is inside the zone, turning left past the cameras and traffic lights and towards the nearby roundabout was enough to see them face a charge.
George said: ‘Sadiq Khan has cost me nearly £40,000 in motors.
‘I’ve had to buy a car and pay £7,000 for a new van, which is no better than the one we’ve got.
‘I’ve got a perfectly good van that can do 5,000 miles a year, yet a van that meets these emissions can do 100,000 miles more.
‘Who’s polluting the air more, me or him?’
George and Vera Dowler face a cash charge any time they drove their older cars past the traffic lights near their home after last’s month’s expansion of ULEZ in their area
Vera, who works in admin, called the situation ‘disgusting’ and said she now left her older car around the corner.
This means she can escape the cameras perched on top of the traffic lights, which they say catches older vehicles out right outside their home.
George added: ‘It’s all about money.
‘If people are prepared to still use their old vehicles, the air would be exactly the same, so it’s all about money.
‘What is the difference between the air here and the air the other side of the traffic lights?
‘Also, I’ve been brought up around lorries and fumes, like thousands of other people.
‘I’m 72 years of age, still fit as a fiddle.
‘Surely it’s not the air, surely it’s the food that people eat. I just don’t get it all.
‘I’ve got a perfectly good van that if they want to use it on the other side of that roundabout.
‘There’s another 10 years left in it and they can use it, and I can’t.’
Vera added: ‘What about the new F1 racing?’, referencing to the reported negotiations London Mayor Khan is in to bring a Formula One track to the capital.
She believed that undermined his climate credentials.
She said: ‘It’s absolutely crazy!’
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: ‘We know toxic air pollution in London leads to 4,000 premature deaths a year, stunts the growth of children’s lungs and worsens chronic illnesses, such as asthma.
ULEZ now stretches to cover an area surrounded by the North and South Circular roads. The ULEZ is separate from the Low Emission Zone (LEZ), which implemented tougher emissions standards for heavy diesel vehicles from March 1, 2021
‘The bold action taken by Sadiq since he became Mayor has already led to a 94 per cent reduction in the number of Londoners living in areas that exceed the legal limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels.
‘The gap between the most and least deprived areas for exposure to nitrogen dioxide has narrowed by up to 50 per cent.
’87 per cent of cars seen travelling in the expanded zone already meet the standards and to help more Londoners switch to cleaner vehicles, Sadiq has invested £61 million in scrappage schemes, which have helped replace or retrofit more than 12,000 vehicles since 2019.’
Earlier this month, motorists elsewhere on the border told the Local Democracy Reporting Service they were not bothered by the rule changes’.