A council is encouraging cyclists to take up a “prominent” position on a main road, despite providing a dedicated bike path.
Even though cyclists have use of the 7ft-wide bike lane alongside the A35 in Boscombe, Bournemouth, large bike symbols have been painted in the middle of the road as well.
This is because town hall officials want them to take a “more prominent position” in the middle of the busy road, so that they can be seen by traffic, which will then be forced to slow down.
A spokesman for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council said: “We recently undertook carriageway resurfacing and have widened the cycle lanes in line with current standards.
“The road markings highlighted are there to encourage cyclists to take a prominent position in the lane so therefore make them more visible to other motorists.”
Cyclists may think they ‘own the road’
The move has angered drivers, who said the council has made the bike lane redundant while making cyclists think “they own the road”.
One said: “You put cycle lanes in and then paint cycle symbols on the main carriageway. Cyclists now seem to think they own all the road and won’t move over.”
Another added: “It should be in the Highway Code that cyclists must use cycle lanes if available. This is utterly ridiculous, causing tailbacks, delayed emergency vehicles and frayed tempers.”
In 2019, BCP Council declared a climate emergency, pledging to make all its operations carbon neutral by 2030.
On its website, officials boast to have “improved the safety of cyclists and walkers at key transport locations using the £312,000 Government Emergency Active Travel grant”.
Last year, BCP Council caused more controversy by spending £102 million on building two cycle lanes alongside a main road that motorists claim leaves them with no room to make way for emergency vehicles.
The two new bike lanes are protected from traffic by six-inch tall raised kerbs.
Earlier this year, changes in the Highway Code came into force that allow cyclists to ride in the middle of quieter roads and also ride two abreast.