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Home » New cycle lane security measures under scrutiny
September 16th, 2015
Cycle safety campaigners have questioned the safety of a newly built cycle lane in Newcastle. The design uses humps known as ‘Orcas’ or ‘Armadillos’ which line the bike lane boundary and are designed to stop cars from entering into the cycle lane. Cyclists have called for urgent action as there have been concerns that these new measures ‘could be fatal’.
The cycle lane is situated on the Great North Road and the new lane was installed by the Newcastle City Council after consultations. These particular road dividers are not DfT approved and the North East Motorcycle Action Group claims the so called safety humps could be fatal to cyclists and bikers.
A spokeswoman for the group, also questioned their legality:
“It’s mad, in order to try and protect cyclists from cars they have sacrificed the safety of motorcyclists and scooterists by reducing their available road space and then throwing obstacles in their way.
“In Manchester where these were trialed even the cyclists are against them.”
“Any powered two wheeler forced into a collision with an armadillo will at best be thrown to the ground and at worst killed by forcing them into collision with another motor vehicle.”
The Newcastle City Council accepted that the Orcas are not approved by the DfT but added:
“The decision to install cycle lane separators, known as Orcas, on the Great North Road was taken following engagement and consultation with stakeholders and the public.
“The Orcas represent light segregation within a mandatory cycle lane, on a stretch of 30 mph road that maintains two running lanes in each direction in addition to the cycle lane.
“No segregation would mean that only the white line was provided, and this is only sufficient on quieter or lightly trafficked streets.
“On busier roads, this provides no physical protection to cyclists, and would not encourage increased usage of safer cycling infrastructure as is the aim of the safety fund that paid for these changes.
“While these Orcas do not require DfT approval, there is a legal requirement for the cycle lane separator to be installed behind a continuous white line at the edge of the carriageway, which clearly indicates a mandatory cycle lane.
“The DfT’s view is that such items are considered as street furniture, in a similar way to bollards or guardrail, which could also be placed behind the edge of the carriageway without any approval required.”
“Officers also undertook a risk assessment for various different measures, and during this review we were unable to find evidence that suggested that these measures should not be considered on the grounds of potential health and safety concerns, in comparison to alternative highway infrastructure.”
It is clear that the campaigners will be monitoring incidents on this stretch of cycle lane very closely over the coming months.
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