Just when you thought it was safe to get back on a bike, the bad engineers strike again!
I’ve written so much about the Bedford turbo roundabout (and the ensuing scandal, delightfully dubbed ‘turbogate‘) and I was hoping that the project might be cancelled and I wouldn’t have to bother getting into Bedford again.
But it turns out that while myself and other cycle campaigners (proper ones, that is, who want safe, convenient cycling for all, not those pretend ones who take your money and then sit on their arses writing press releases all day) were upset with the whole concept, another group of users wasn’t happy with one particular aspect of it.
This is obviously something which motorcycle users were concerned about, though I’m not sure that it should be an issue. The whole point of a turbo roundabout is that you choose a lane on the approach road, long before you reach the roundabout itself, then you stay in that lane throughout. There’s no more need to ride near the raised dividers than there is to ride beside the kerb. A motorbike rider would be in the middle of the lane throughout. But clearly there were concerns, and maybe I’m not understanding the full implications to motorcyclists.
The upshot of all this is that Bedford Council have agreed to remove the raised lane dividers.
So what does this leave us with? A roundabout designed to speed large numbers of motor vehicles through a busy junction, paid for by ‘Cycle Safety Fund’ money and approved by our major cycling campaigns. Great.
But I really don’t see how this scheme can go ahead now – not with Cycle Safety Fund money, anyway. The funding application document specifically mentions these raised dividers as part of the design, claiming they would “prevent vehicles cutting across lanes”.
As a key aspect of the design has been removed, so the funding must surely be withdrawn.
Who has the power to cancel this scheme? The Department for Transport? Sustrans, who managed the Cycle Safety Fund for the DfT? If you know, please tell us in the comments.