'An invisible hazard' - Cycle lane extension prompts concern over bollards

A bollard on a segregated island

People in St Williams Way are concerned about the segregated islands proposed as part of the extension of a cycle lane. - Credit: Amanda Robb

A move to spend a slice of £1.5m to extend cycle lanes in a Norwich road has prompted safety concerns from people living there.

Norfolk County Council wants to use more than £70,000 awarded through the government's Active Travel Fund to extend mandatory cycle lanes in St Williams Way, Thorpe St Andrew.

There are already cycle lanes along the road, but between Thor Loke to Margetson Avenue they are advisory only, meaning traffic other then cyclists can pass into them and vehicles can park in them.

The recently installed cycle lanes on the other stretch of the road are mandatory, which prevents other vehicles from driving or parking in them.

There are segregated islands, with bollards on, also known as wands, at various intervals to offer protection to cyclists - and more would be installed if the mandatory lanes are extended.

A bollard on a segregated island

People in St Williams Way are concerned about the segregated islands proposed as part of the extension of a cycle lane. - Credit: Amanda Robb

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But people living in the road are concerned the segregated islands will do more harm than good - and make it dangerous for them to get their cars in and out of their drives.

Consultation over the council's proposals ended last week and a number of people living in St Williams Way have made their views known.

St Williams Way Norwich

St Williams Way in Norwich, showing one of the existing traffic segregation islands - missing its bollard. - Credit: Amanda Robb

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One is Amanda Robb, who said she was "ambivalent" about the mandatory cycle lane itself, but said: "I have still to meet any resident who feels that the light segregation islands are acceptable."

She said one of the main concerns was poorly placed segregation islands would create an obstacle which made it dangerous for people to reverse into their drives.

She said: "These bollard sticks will be knocked over and bent at angles. They will also be very unsightly - who would want to move to a house on a road that looks like a 10-pin bowling alley?"

And she said not allowing parking outside homes could create problems if people had contractors working on them, care workers visiting or family members staying.

She said it could lead to vehicles parking in side streets.

Roger Kingstone, who also lives in St Williams Way, said: "These posts present a real hazard, particularly at night."

Richard Bearman, from Norwich Cycling Campaign. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Richard Bearman, chairman of Norwich Cycling Campaign. - Credit: Archant

Richard Bearman, chairman of the Norwich Cycling Campaign, said the group supported the introduction of the mandatory cycle lanes, but were not "enthusiastic" about the wands.

He said: "We are happy with the cycle lanes and we do want them to be mandatory, but we are not particularly enthusiastic about the wands.

"We would want them there where there are side streets, such as Williams Loke.

"But where they exist already, such as in Earlham Road, the bollard bits have been broken off and that can make them a bit of an invisible hazard for cyclists."

The council says there have been safety concerns for a number of years that vehicles parking within the advisory cycle lanes force cyclists to swerve out into the road.

A council spokesperson said: "All feedback to the consultation will be reviewed in the coming weeks and we will then provide a full response to all points raised."

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