A Bath Councillor has criticised the council for putting up “cyclists dismount” signs on a national cycle route through the city centre.
The signs are in place on Cheap Street where the road has been closed since the end of May while bollards are being installed by Bath and North East Somerset Council.
Saskia Heijltjes, who was “bicycle mayor” for Bath before being elected as a Green councillor for Lambridge in May, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I have been asking questions about this for a while.”
She said: “I am disappointed by the fact that they haven’t really thought it through beforehand. It’s a major route for cycling east to west in a low traffic environment.”
Cheap Street lies on National Cycle Route 4, a 430-mile route linking Greenwich in London with Fishguard in West Wales. An alternative branch of the route 4 directs cyclists along Upper Borough Walls — but this is also set to close from September 26 while bollards are installed there too.
Ms Heijltjes added: “It’s a very narrow gap and once you dismount on, say, a cargo bike you are actually a very wide heavy thing.”
She added that forms of cycling such as hand cycles may be used by people as a disability aid and so not all cyclists are able to easily dismount.
A letter from Council officers to Ms Heijltjes responding to her concerns stated that the decision to put up the signs had been made after a road safety audit, which recommended the move if a cycle route on the road could not be established.
The letter stated: “A marked cycle route on the footway around the works would have required a circuitous route around the works marked out by white road markings. Aside from the impact that the temporary road markings would have made on the natural stone paving at this location, it was felt that it would be difficult to enforce segregation of pedestrians from cyclists at this location potentially leading to conflict between pedestrians and cyclists.”
The letter added: “It had been noted by site management staff that cyclists had been passing through very quickly prior to the signs being erected.”
The roadworks on Cheap Street are part of the council’s efforts to install bollards around Bath’s city centre security zone — dubbed the “ring of steel” by critics — which aims to prevent vehicle-based terror attacks in the city centre.
Although restricting the street for traffic, cyclists will be able to travel down the street through the bollards at any time.
Bollards have already been installed on York Street and work is also underway to install similar bollards on Hot Bath Street.
On Cheap Street, as on York Street, a sliding bollard is being installed so that access to the street can be granted for blue badge holders and exempt vehicles. For other vehicles, the bollards will restrict access between 10am and 6pm.