Council spends £10,000 on ‘embarrassing’ cycle lane littered with lampposts

Council chiefs have been condemned for “wasting” more than £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on a 150m-long cycle lane that is peppered with obstacles.

The bike route in Worcester has been blasted by cyclists who are forced to zig-zag around numerous hazards.

Riders must negotiate a lamppost, a tree, bins and a speed camera along the centre of the cycle lane next to a busy main road.

It has now emerged Worcestershire County Council spent £9,195 on the lane, including £5,000 painting white lines and installing bollards.

A further £3,000 of taxpayers’ cash was spent closing part of New Road for three days while the cycle lane was installed in June this year.

Cycling campaign group chair, Dan Brothwell, labelled the project an “embarrassment”.

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The Bike Worcester chairman said: “It’s an embarrassment, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

This cycle lane, spotted by a reader in Cambridge, is blocked by a parking sign (The Independent)
This cycle lane, spotted by a reader in Cambridge, is blocked by a parking sign (The Independent)

“The coup de grâce is the effort spent painting a solid white line around the speed camera.

“If the aim is to put Worcester on the map for comic reasons, the council are going about it the right way.

“Rather than providing infrastructure that offers an improvement to people walking and cycling we are presented with this mess.

“This does nothing to improve connectivity or continuity of the already shared use path on New Road.

“The time, effort and money spent on this is a total waste, and could have had far more positive effect spent elsewhere in the city.”

Cyclist Jon Marshall, 23, said he had almost crashed twice while using the cycle lane.

 (Emma Trimble / SWNS)
(Emma Trimble / SWNS)

He said: “I cannot actually believe that the council have squandered ten grand on something which is worse than the road.

“I came within a whisker of falling into the road when I had to swerve around a bin only to see a tree in front of me.

“Another time I had to swerve around the speed camera but almost hit another cyclist coming the other way.”

Grandmother Janine Fowles, 58, said: “I got on my bike for the first time when it was installed but I was a bit surprised at the number of objects blocking the route.”

Despite widespread criticism, the council insist the lane has been a success, resulting in “very little conflict” between cyclists and pedestrians.

Councillor Mike Rouse, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Cycling infrastructure of any kind, which needs to follow strict government guidelines, is expensive and this is one of the reasons we can’t install as much as we would like as a council.

“With the New Road, we had a number of complaints about the conflict between pedestrians and cyclists on the combined New Road footway and cycleway.

“Since the scheme was installed, monitoring has revealed that the scheme has been successful and that there is now very little conflict as most pedestrians and cyclists are using the segregated lanes which is really good news for both.”

The council is having to make up for years of lost ground on active travel having lost out on more than £500,000 after two “lacklustre” bids for extra walking and cycling money fell short and a third was rejected outright.

The under fire council also received the worst possible “zero” rating from Active Travel England, the new government body responsible for handling walking and cycling money.