Author: MikeGinger

Somerset County Council fails to address safety concerns

Taunton Area Cycling Campaign is again highlighting the inadequate situation created by Somerset County Council and their contractors at the major works scheme at J25. They have removed a cycle and walking path forcing people walking and cycling, including wheelchair users, to use a hemmed in 1 metre wide path over a length of nearly 100 metres, making social distancing impossible.

Trying to get past on coming cyclists whilst pushing bikes.

Somerset County Council and their contractors have responded to our concerns with a series of ‘cyclist dismount’ signs with no additional space for walking and cycling.

Government signing advice is not to use ‘cyclist dismount’ signs. Walking takes four times longer, thereby increasing the risk of inadequate social distancing by 400%. So the County Council has actually made things worse.

We are repeating our call for action to deal with this situation, in line with government current policy, since we have been told by Somerset County Council officers that the current works will continue for 12 months.

Inadequate arrangements

Ian Bright of Taunton Area Cycling Campaign said: “We are very unhappy with the very poor response from the Council. It is unwilling to allow cyclists some road space due to ‘safety issues’ of motorists queuing to exit the motorway. It is impossible for cyclists and pedestrians to socially distance with the current arrangements. When TACC discussed the scheme with the County Council at the planning stage in 2017, we were given re-assurances that pedestrians and cyclists would be properly accommodated during the works. We feel that by requisitioning the existing path for the road at an early stage of the works, the County Council have gone back on this. We are not satisfied with the current inadequate arrangements.
We would like to think the safety of pedestrians and cyclists is of equal importance to motorists. We are demonstrating how dangerous it will be for cyclists if we are forced to use the carriageway under the bridge, and the inconvenience to motorists trying to pass slower traffic.”

Riding on carriage way is dangerous.Push button to cross the slip road can't be reached

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The option of using the road is only for the most confident. Even worse in the opposite direction. We also point out to Somerset County Council that other aspects of the works are sloppy, such as the push button to cross the slip road, which they have made inaccessible for people to use.

Our proposal to Somerset County Council: make a one way system

Our proposal to SCC to make one way systemIf Somerset County Council will not provide a traffic lane for the safety of people walking and cycling, we are suggesting a compromise solution.

By narrowing the inner lane slightly and with barriers, it is quite possible to provide a one way system so that people do not need to pass each other in the narrow section, as shown in the first photograph. Narrower traffic lanes would help reduce the excessive traffic speeds that we witnessed at the site.

 

Members of TACC would be very happy to meet with the County Council and its contractors on site to discuss our entirely reasonable compromise proposal together with the need for additional signing to improve safety. We wish to stress that we want to work constructively with the County Council, as is the case on some projects. But we feel that in this case, our efforts are not being reciprocated.

Manifesto for prioritising walking and cycling

A recent Freedom of Information request showed that Somerset County Council’s capital expenditure on new roads was £47 million in 2018-19, with £116,000 spent on cycle infrastructure. This is an extreme example, but in the years 2017-19 for every £1 of capital expenditure on walking and cycling infrastructure more than £13 was spent on infrastructure for motor vehicles.

Taunton Area Cycling Campaign, in close cooperation with Safer Walking and Cycling in Bruton and Bridgwater Area Cycling Campaign, have compiled a manifesto. This manifesto calls on Somerset Country Council to reverse the way it prioritises car traffic over walking and cycling in its design and resource decisions. The manifesto is based on responses to a consultation with parish and town councils and other community organisations in Somerset in May/June 2020. Groups were consulted on an initial draft of the manifesto and the manifesto was amended to accommodate the comments, where possible. It has received support from many community organisations across Somerset.

Read the Manifesto’s priorities »

Free Dr Bike sessions for key workers as part of the ‘Big Bike Revival’

Recent weeks have seen a surge in cycling. To help key workers take to two wheels, Taunton Area Cycling Campaign is organising two Dr Bike sessions where a qualified bike mechanic from On Your Bike will check your bike over for you.
These are on:
– 21 July, 10-2 at Musgrove Hospital for hospital staff,
– 28 July, 11-1 at CICCIC, Paul Street in the garden facing Billetfield, open to all key workers.

The sessions are completely free but you do need to book a quarter hour slot for your bike. The first one at Musgrove will be at 10am and the last one at 1.45pm. The first one at CICCIC is at 11am and the last one starts at 12.45pm.

To book a quarter hour slot email saying which slot you would like. We’ll try to fit you in as closely as possible with your preferred slot.

This project is funded by the Department for Transport as part of Big Bike Revival. The Dr Bike will be provided by On Your Bike.

Free one to one cycle confidence and skills training is also available, to all adults. It is provided by our friendly qualified trainer and take one or two hours. Please email to make arrangements.

Social distancing: pop up space for walking and cycling

TACC has been asking the leader of Somerset County Council to introduce space for walking and cycling to enable social distancing. We particularly suggested that they consider these routes:

  • Fore Street and East Reach. East Street has been closed to motor traffic previously. The pavements are of variable width and, even with reduced numbers of shoppers, social distancing is not always possible.
  • A38 Wellington Road from the Bishop’s Hull roundabout to County Hall. Again this is a major route into the town with three lanes.
  • Cheddon Road and Station Road. This is another normally busy and uncomfortable cycle and walking route that is now relatively quiet.

Somerset County Council has responded to TACC’s request.
Continue reading »

More free one-to-one cycle confidence sessions

Thanks to Magic Little Grants, TACC can now offer more one to one confidence sessions. They are aimed at people who want to build confidence and skills in doing say to day bike journeys. They are provided by our qualified cycle training instructor, Nick Warner, and typically are 1 to 2 hours.

This is what one person said: “Nick who carried out the session is an experienced cyclist and he tailored the session to meet my specific needs. It was carried out in Taunton for 90 minutes and I now feel much more confident around bike safety and care, and also being safe on the roads. I would highly recommend this session to those who can already ride but lack the confidence to ride on the roads.”

If you would like to take advantage, please email us.

People's Postcode LotteryMagic Little Grants

 

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