#1
Loopy! The 5ft cycle lane too small to ride in
13th April 2006


Uneasy rider: Cyclists try to negotiate the bizarre miniature cycle route in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

The big wheels of road safety insisted a cycle route must be set up at a busy road junction.

Commendable, perhaps. But there was just one small problem ... the route is only 5ft long.

And, because it forms a sharp curve, local riders say it would be impossible to use the marked lane - which is only just longer than a bike - without falling off.

"Perhaps it was designed for a unicycle owner," said one biker.

The markings are painted on a pavement at the juncton of Kennedy Road and Roman Road in Shrewsbury.

"I have found that the short length combined with the sharp curve makes it impossible to ride around," said former racing cyclist Jim Leach, who lives in the town's Belle Vue area.

"I questioned it at the time and it's the silliest cycle route I've ever seen. I tried it to see if it would work and nearly took a tumble. I was told it was considered safer for cyclists to cross at 90 degrees rather than signal and turn right on the carriageway.

"However, if any cyclist takes that advice, they should be warned. The rider is hidden by a hedge to drivers coming from the right and cannot see if anything is approaching. It is a shame, because Shrewsbury has been given quite an extensive network of cycle-routes."

Shropshire County Council spokesman John Hargreaves said: "When we created links to a four-mile cycle track, making it safer and more pleasant for cyclists on Roman Road, the safety auditor insisted on us adding this very short, tight loop.

"Such loops are called jug handles and are used where it's safer for cyclists to stop and cross a road at right angles, rather than moving into the middle of the road."

The council challenged the route at the time and is currently seeking to get it removed, he added.

It's not the first example of cycleway silliness. Mail online reported yesterday how 100 signs - 60 on posts and 40 on the tarmac - have been erected to mark a new three-quarter-mile bike route in Bingham, Nottinghamshire.

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