Keynsham’s “optical illusion” cycle lane will be remaining on the town’s high street despite a large number of trips and falls.
A cross-party plan to commit Bath and North East Somerset Council to investigate the costs of fixing the cycle lane had been due to go to vote at a council meeting on September 21. But the Keynsham councillors behind the plan have withdrawn and postponed it, amid fears it would be “torpedoed” by the council administration.
As of August, 76 people had reported falls in the cycle lane since it was opened in March 2022, although the unreported figure is believed to be even higher. Local councillors say that the injuries people have suffered include fractures, lost teeth, and significant bruising.
Alan Hale, Conservative councillor for Keynsham South, said: “It very soon became clear that there was a real issue with the varying non standard kerb heights. It was also obvious that there was an optical illusion that disguised the changes in levels.”
The cycle lane was painted red in August in a bid to fix the issue but falls have continued. After “fruitless” attempts to get the Liberal Democratic administration to act, Keynsham’s councillors set aside party lines to band together and force something to be done.
Liberal Democrat councillor for Keynsham East Hal MacFie drew up a motion, supported by the other councillors in the town, to commit the council to investigating the costs of fixing the confusing kerbs. But the motion was later withdrawn before the meeting.
A statement from the Keynsham councillors said that an amendment to their motion been tabled by the administration which they believed would “crush” their motion. Under the council’s constitutional “six month rule,” this could prevent it being discussed again until at least March 2024.
But a source close to the Liberal Democrat administration said that it was standard practice for the council administration to file an amendment to all motions.
Mr MacFie said he would work on the motion and bring it back to a future meeting.
A spokesperon for the Liberal Democrat group said: “We understand the Keynsham Councillors decided to withdraw their motion whilst we await the Stage 4 safety audit.
“We’re taking reports of all falls seriously. The majority of incidents happened within the first six months of the scheme going in and the number of incidents is decreasing as people get used to the changes and in light of the amendments we have already made.
“We are listening and the Stage 4 road safety audit we commissioned will guide us. An example of an improvement we’ve already made is to introduce the red cycle lane finish last August.”
LDRS, John Wimperis