A MAN has said it’s “impossible” for fire engines to travel down Whitelegg Way, months after a fire officer predicted the issue.
Jeff Cosier saw cars pulling fully into the cycle lane and mounting the kerbs as a fire engine struggled to make its way down the sustainable travel route.
“We were heading back towards Parley and at about 8.20am a fire engine went straight past us,” Mr Cosier said.
“People were coming towards the fire engine and it got stuck for about 30 to 40 seconds.
“Cars were pulling on to the bike lane, you can’t get a fire engine through there it’s impossible.
“I would not be prepared to drive up on the bike path. People were mounting the kerb which was quite incredible.
“There weren't any bikes there, if there was it could have caused a problem.”
Mr Cosier, 50, said there was a side road emergency services could use which would prevent them getting stuck.
“They can’t get through, it’s impossible,” he continued.
“Before long a cyclist will get knocked over. There’s an easier road the emergency services can use.”
In November 2021, a fire officer from Redhill Fire Station told the Daily Echo the new cycle lanes prevented him travelling down Whitelegg Way in a fire engine.
He said: “It holds us up for a few minutes and for a fire that is a long time.”
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service group manager Stuart Gillion said: “Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service work closely with local authorities in relation to matters that affect road networks.
“As key stakeholders, we are consulted on developments of the highway infrastructure across the counties of Dorset and Wiltshire, such as the Transforming Cities Fund - Transforming Travel programme.
“Any development of the highway is subject to governance by the Department for Transport to ensure they can be used safely by all vehicles, including the emergency services.”
A spokesperson for BCP Council said: “It is not necessary for drivers to mount the cycleway on Whitelegg Way if they encounter emergency services under blue lights.
“The carriageway width on Whitelegg Way adheres to national standards set by the Department for Transport and can be used safely by all vehicles, including emergency services vehicles.
“Dorset & Wiltshire Fire Service has not raised any issues about using Whitelegg Way.”
The Highway Code says: "Do not endanger yourself, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb."