A cyclist who uses the B3108 cycle lane between Bradford on Avon and Winsley says she was “lucky” not to be hit on Sunday (August 22) by an oncoming vehicle after the bollards were removed.

Caroline Tassell claims that someone will be seriously hurt unless urgent action is taken to improve safety for cyclists using the road to go to Winsley.

She said: “I know the cycle lane between Winsley and Bradford on Avon has been a controversial subject for sometime now, and as a regular cyclist I have been using it somewhat reluctantly when travelling from Bradford on Avon to Winsley.

“It never felt safe - narrow, potholes, full of debris, and lethal if meeting another cyclist coming the other way. However, it was marginally preferable to the abuse I experienced from motorists if I chose not to use it and cycled on the road instead.

“Today, I started to cycle along it only to realise that a car was heading straight for me,” said Caroline, 48, from Bradford on Avon.

“I then realised that the bollards have been removed so there is nothing to separate cars from cyclists, however the white lines and signage remains in place indicating that this is still a cycle lane. As if it wasn’t dangerous enough before!

“How can you leave it clearly signposted as a cycle lane but remove the bollards. I am lucky that I wasn’t hit but this has to be dealt with as a matter of urgency before somebody is seriously hurt. An absolute shambles.”

Wiltshire Council intends to replace the controversial cycle lane with an improved permanent facility in 2022 after a public engagement exercise showed most people want the scheme to stay despite criticism from users.

Ringway removed the cycle related bollards on August 19 and 20 under temporary traffic signals operating from 9am to 4pm.

The removal of lining and the reinstatement of the carriageway centre line will be completed during the evenings of Monday and Tuesday, August 23 and 24, again using temporary traffic signals.

The temporary scheme was installed as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic to enable more people to cycle and walk from Winsley to Bradford on Avon.

It was proposed by the local member, Cllr Johnny Kidney, as an opportunity to trial a safe route for students attending St Laurence School in Bradford on Avon from Winsley, enabling them to cycle or walk to school safely. This trial was successful, which is why the scheme is being made permanent.

However, it was designed as a temporary, pop-up scheme, not as long-term installation, so the council is removing the scheme during the school summer holidays and then replacing it with a more permanent scheme in 2022 to avoid clashing with other highways works in the area.

The new scheme will introduce a bollard-free shared use path for both pedestrians and cyclists on the northern side of Bradford Road, Winsley and Winsley Road, Bradford on Avon, in contrast to the current arrangements where cyclists and motorists are separated by bollards.

This will provide an improved two-way cycle and pedestrian route between Winsley and Downs View, which is on the Bradford on Avon Cycle Network.

Cyclists using the B3108 Winsley bypass will also be able to access the shared use path should they wish to do so.

The scheme will also see improvements to the refuge island to the north of the roundabout to provide a safe and convenient crossing location for both cyclists and pedestrians, along with carriageway resurfacing between the Winsley roundabout and Downs View.

Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “The cycle lane that is currently in place to link Winsley and Bradford on Avon was always intended to be a short-term solution to enable people to travel safely during the COVID pandemic, particularly children travelling to and from St Laurence School.

“It is not a long-term solution, and it is starting to look tired and needs maintenance. For these reasons we are going to remove the scheme in the coming weeks, though an improved permanent facility is on its way. We apologise for any delays that people may experience whilst this work is taking place.

“Following an engagement exercise, people have told us that they would like the scheme to stay, and so we’re installing a permanent solution that uses a shared use path for both pedestrians and cyclists, rather than bollards to segregate traffic and cyclists.

“However, we can’t install the new facility at this time as there are conflicting highways works both on our own network and in neighbouring B&NES during the coming months.

“To avoid causing excessive delays in the area, we have decided to schedule the installation of the shared use path to the summer of 2022.

“This work will involve closing the road for six weeks, so we’re timing it for the school summer holidays as this will reduce the impact on local businesses and residents.

“Once complete, this shared use path will provide a permanent, safer route between Winsley and Bradford on Avon for both cyclists and pedestrians and link with the existing Bradford on Avon Cycle Network.”