Hospital roundabout, King's Lynn
Letter written to NCC today, 08/01/2014. Says it all!
I visited the roundabout today for the first time since completion en route to Gayton. Whilst it appears to have been constructed to high standard I have to say my fears have been confirmed as to it's usability and safety. I should like to make the following points:
Eastbound, I used the carriageway. The road was relatively quiet at about 13:00 but traffic speeds seem higher than before and I had a car overtake me then cut left across my path. As an experienced cyclist I anticipated this but a less experienced rider may well have been hit. I accept that whilst this is case of poor driving such a multi-lane road layout encourages this kind of behaviour. To access the new cycle path from the cycle path along the north side of Gayton Road (or from the hospital) would involve crossing all four lanes just beyond the mini roundabout and would be exceptionally dangerous.
On my return, about an hour later I used the cycle path. It was easy to access from the B1145 but crossing the bypass was very difficult. Drivers leaving the B1145 and travelling south are looking to their right for a gap in the traffic and not looking to the left for a cyclist crossing the road and several drivers appeared confused by the new lane markings and carried on straight ahead onto the bypass whilst indicating to turn left! Crossing the three northbound lanes took 4 minutes 28 seconds at a relatively quiet time of day. The crossing will be impossible to use at peak times without wriggling between stationary vehicles - extremely hazardous with HGVs.
In my opinion the roundabout is extremely dangerous for cyclists. I would have expected that the Stage 3 Safety Audit would have picked up on these issues. Could you please send me a copy (electronic preferably)?
I would like to make the following recommendations to be applied immediately if serious injury or death of a cyclist is to be avoided:
The speed on all approaches to the roundabout should be reduced to 30mph. At the moment it is 60mph which is totally inappropriate for such a sensitive location. (As this will require a modification to the TRO I suggest that temporary speed limits be implemented in the meantime)
'Cyclists ahead' warning signs (950) be installed on all approaches.
'Cycle' markings painted on the appropriate carriageway to direct eastbound cyclists to use the roundabout. (We are strongly advising potential users NOT to use the cycle path in this direction because of the difficulty getting onto the eastbound carriageway of the B1145).
The point at which the path joins the B1145 should be reconsidered. We repeat our call for the path to be extended to the crematorium as soon as possible. In the meantime, extension to a point where a central refuge can be installed is essential.
In the medium term a toucan crossing should be installed here to cyclists to cross at busy times.
It also urgently needs sweeping and a maintenance schedule implemented as it was covered in debris presumably thrown up by passing vehicles.
I'm afraid I cannot overstate the hazardous nature of the roundabout and, in particular the new cycle path. This route is already being used by schoolchildren and their safety must take precedence over 'keeping the traffic moving'.
Can you let me know as soon as possible what measures will be implemented to improve cyclists' safety. If it would help I would be happy to meet you on-site.