‘Utterly ridiculous!’: Cyclists told to ignore dedicated cycle lanes and ride in the road

Nick Ferrari discusses cycle lanes with fellow cyclist

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Although cyclists in Boscombe, Bournemouth have access to a 7ft wide bike lane alongside the A35, the council has painted large bike symbols in the middle of the busy road as well. This is because the local authority wants cyclists to take a “more prominent position” on the A35 so they can be seen by traffic.

A spokesperson for Bournemouth Christchurch and 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.”

Despite this, many drivers are angry about the new markings, saying that it makes the bike lane redundant.

Some have even said it encourages cyclists to think “they own the road”.

One driver, 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 added: “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.

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“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?”

The cycle markings have previously been at the centre of controversy after BCP Council spent £102million on two cycle lanes this year.

Motorists then claimed it left them with no room to make way for emergency vehicles.

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The new bike lanes are protected from traffic with six inch tall raised kerbs.

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

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

In an attempt to make the area more environmentally friendly, the Council has made use of Government grants.

They have done this by “improving the safety of cyclists and walkers at key transport locations using the £312,000 Government Emergency Active Travel grant”.

Highway Code changes were introduced in January, outlining that drivers must give cyclists priority in certain situations.

The rule change urges drivers and motorcyclists not to cut across cyclists when turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane.

The changes also allow cyclists to ride in the middle of quieter roads and ride two abreast.

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