The Bedford 'Turbo' Roundabout
Bedford Borough council had proposed alterations to Union street roundabout to improve conditions for cyclists. Proposals included the introduction of raised lane dividers; a design used in some parts of Holland but new to the UK. Motorcyclists were very worried about the risks of a rider contacting these 75mm high lane dividers, thinking that this may result in a fall into the path of another vehicle.
There is a great deal of history on this matter – there have been high-friction conversations between officers of Bedford Borough council and another motorcycle lobby group over the past 18 months. I came into post at the start of June, was aware of something going on and so contacted Allan Burls of Bedford Borough council to see what the matter was. We have made sound progress and the matter is resolved. Another motorcycle representative group may not agree.
Bedford Borough council had proposed alterations to Union street roundabout to improve conditions for cyclists. These proposals included the introduction of two lengths of raised lane dividers within the circle of the roundabout; a design used in some parts of Holland but new to the UK. Motorcyclists were very worried about the risks of a rider contacting these 75mm high lane dividers, thinking that this may result in a fall into the path of another vehicle.
Graeme Hay, of the BMF said: “When I looked at this design I was very surprised that cyclists were not worried about these land dividers, as well. Any contact with these lumps would almost certainly result in a fall. As an experienced Highways engineer I thought that there must be a better way to do it than this”.
Graeme approached Bedford Borough councils Senior Project Engineer, Mr Allan Burls and Cycling officer, Mr Patrick Lingwood to discuss his concerns.
“Allan Burls sent me some drawings and we talked the whole project through. Patrick Lingwood explained to me the history of the proposed scheme, the need to slow cars through the roundabout to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians. I learned that we were not the only motorcycle group concerned about these raised lane separators.”
A site meeting was held on Tuesday 17th June with both parties and it was agreed that the revised design, without the controversial raised lane dividers would still achieve almost all of the original objectives of the scheme, without any additional risk to cyclists or motorcyclists.
Graeme Hay said “I was delighted to have the opportunity to comment on the design, before it was implemented and I know that motorcyclists will be grateful to the officers of Bedford Borough council and the Department for Transport for their listening approach to delivering this important traffic scheme.”
For a new and full explanation of the Turbo roundabout, see the forthcoming issue of Motorcycle Rider, with members late August.