Tests are to be carried out on a new cycle lane where some riders fell of their bikes shortly after the scheme opened.
A section of the Vogue Gyratory Improvement Scheme, opened in December 2014, included a standard half-height kerb, designed to deter vehicle drivers from cutting up cyclists on a corner. Such kerbs are common and have been used on cycle schemes elsewhere in the UK, including on the city’s Old Shoreham Road cycle lane constructed in 2012.
Hundreds of cyclists are now using the new Vogue facilities route daily, but concern was raised by some cyclists as the works were being finalised, who reportedly failed to notice the kerb, losing control as they moved off the road to join the cycle lane from the side.
As a temporary measure the city council quickly put in a shallow tarmac ramp to create a smooth transition from the road surface to the cycle lane and there have been no incidents reported since. However, the current temporary wedge of tarmac is not durable enough to leave as a permanent solution and officers have consulted with cyclists to find a permanent solution.
Whilst it would be possible to simply remove the kerb and have a cycle lane flush with the road, transport officers are concerned that without the kerb, traffic will again start encroaching onto the cycle lane, endangering cyclists. Now observations will be carried out to see what happens without the cycle lane having a raised surface.
This means carrying out works to remove the raised section and kerb to see whether the red coloured surfacing and a solid white line are sufficient to keep vehicles clear. If not, a bespoke kerb would be designed meaning bikes could transition smoothly from the road to a raised cycle lane from the side. Work to remove the raised section will be done on Sunday 25th January, during off-peak periods.
Lead councillor for transport Ian Davey said: “Generally the Vogue is demonstrably safer for bikes and has been well-received by cyclists. Although these kerbs are common, we’ve had this unexpected situation of a few cyclists apparently entering the bike lane from the side and failing to see the kerb. But the arrangement has to be easy to understand and safe for everyone so we need to test whether a cycle lane flush with the road keeps cyclists safe from vehicles or whether we need a kerb of some sort which bikes won’t trip over.”