The roads are ever more congested and dangerous, they tell us. So here’s a new delight – small almost invisible teeth in the road, that will catch you and rip you from your motorcycle and eat you up! Even if you’re in a car you’ll be very sorry you drove along Clarence Road, in my old home city of Bristol. They have a mayor called George, you know. Here’s what I’ve just posted him. I’ll update you if I get a reply:
I am an ex-resident of Bristol now living in South Gloucestershire. As traffic levels increase I applaud the intention of your office to make Bristol a safer place to move around in; indeed, creating Britain’s first Cycling City. As a motorcyclist I believe PTW is a viable alternative to car use for those of us who need to make longer journeys, particularly where public transport has yet to connect to the rural communities. PTW take up less space on the road, easing congestion, and tend to be more fuel efficient per person/journey overall (given that most car journeys are single occupancy).
Pedal cyclists face hazards when sharing the road with cars and lorries, and as such the provision of cycle lanes is an obvious solution. However, in one case the construction of a cycle lane has, through ill-considered design, presented a serious hazard to other road users. For Powered Two Wheelers this hazard could well be fatal. I refer to the installation of Toby Bollards in Clarence Road, Recliff.
This cycle lane is built into the road, rather than the more customary extended and demarcated pavement. In fact it appears to be the width of a normal traffic lane, able to take large vehicles (is it a Metro Bus Lane in the making?). The bollards, which have more appropriately been renamed ‘Tombstones’, are grey on a grey tarmac road, and even the red reflector strips on them are coated with grey road dust. They stand about a foot high, ready to catch any errant vehicle (or even pedestrian) who ventures onto them, barely visible in good conditions.
In poor conditions, such as rain or fog, these bollards will be entirely invisible, especially by PTW with wet visors. The penalty for crossing the white line ought not to be serious injury or death, I hope you will agree.
You will note from the pictures I took this morning that at least one (in fact several) of these bollards have been damaged, presumably by vehicles striking them. In a car this will have caused costly damage, on a motorcycle it would be an inevitable ‘off”. In either case there will have been damaged concrete cast across the carriageway. Given that some of the tombstones are already missing (and the installation is not yet complete) there would have been occasions when a full bollard was in the road.
Even in good conditions the road lanes have been reduced, as shown by the original centre line in my photographs. East travelling HGV traffic will inevitably cause the oncoming traffic to move towards the bollards, increasing the likelihood of impact. This scheme is ill thought out and should be withdrawn immediately, before someone is killed. The cycle lane, in my lay opinion, should be remade onto an extended pavement divided by painted lines and the road width protected for two lane two direction traffic. Or it could be that York Road and Clarence Road be made one way, which would make perfect sense and cause minimal impact on local residents and businesses.
I would be grateful if Bristol City Council would provide me with information including the justification for the use of the bollards, the accident statistics for Clarence Road and the risk assessment that was undertaken before the design was approved. Emailed copies would be satisfactory, but mail can be addressed to [redacted]
Mark /|\ Rosher
cc Motorcycle Action Group
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