59 people hurt in High St changes

FIFTY NINE people have now been injured on Keynsham High Street, where an “optical illusion” cycle lane was installed last year.

Keynsham South councillor Alan Hale, who obtained the figures through a freedom of information request sent to Bath and North East Somerset Council, warned that someone could suffer fatal injuries on the road.

A new cycle lane was opened along the High Street in March last year after nine months of work, beginning an odd phenomenon of people falling in the high street.

One person who fell described the cycle lane as an “optical illusion” as there were kerbs and painted white lines which looked similar to each other.

Twenty one people have pursued personal injury compensation claims against the council in relation to the road. Seven of these have been rejected but the rest remain open and under investigation.

The council stated that no insurance claims have been settled and no other payments have been made to anyone.

Mr Hale said he had been contacted about people falling “since day one” but had simply been told by officers that they were “monitoring” the situation.

He said: “There can be no other local authority in the country that has created a development that has succeeded in seriously injuring 59 people at least and have done nothing to address the situation.”

Some work has been done on the cycle lane with the hope of reducing the number of falls. The lane, which had been plain tarmac, was painted red in August in response to — at that time — 46 incidents of people falling.

Mr Hale said: “At my suggestion they changed the colour of the tarmacadam of the lane but that did not achieve a cessation in injuries, and since then there has been no further action, save the monitoring.”

Councillor Mark Roper, the council’s cabinet member for economic development, regeneration and growth, defended the council’s response.

He said: “The new Keynsham High Street cycle lane is built to the government’s current LTN120 standards, and when some early problems were identified with the double kerb down to the road surface, a series of mitigations were put in place which has had the effect of substantially reducing the number of reported incidents.

“However we have now commissioned a Stage 4 Road Safety to suggest further improvements and mitigations and prevent any further issues. This will report back early in the next administration.

“All reported falls are carefully examined, including by CCTV, to establish where and why they happen. 

By John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporting Service