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Bike lanes make roads "more dangerous" say campaigners

Campaigners say the new lanes are more dangerous Credit: MEN SYNDICATION

New bike lanes created as part of a £1 billion city centre redesign have made the roads more dangerous, according to safe cycling campaigners.

The new Portland Street cycle lanes, which were supposed to make the city centre more bike-friendly, only opened three weeks ago but are already coming under fire because buses have to cut directly across them to turn into Piccadilly.

A green bike lane is also positioned right in the middle of a bus stop and narrow lane of traffic – which cyclists say causes problems as buses are parking across the bike lane. The lanes have already made a top 12 list of the country’s most dangerous cycle lanes on a biking website. Council and transport bosses say it takes time for people to get used to any major changes but they welcome feedback on the new system.

Campaigners say the new lanes are more dangerous Credit: MEN SYNDICATION

Video footage of the new road, taken by a cyclist, shows buses cutting across the lanes and parking in the bike lane.

Nick Hubble, of Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign, said:

You’re basically sandwiched between buses. There is a bus lay-by on the left and then a small bike lane and then the lane on the right which buses come down. So it’s a bike sandwich which is a very hostile situation for a cyclist to be in, stuck in the middle of two buses. TfGM and the council have missed an opportunity to create a safe environment for cyclists in the city centre.

Reports from cyclists have all been critical of this and say it’s actually worse than it was before when there were no bike lanes.

– Nick Hubble
Campaigners say the new lanes are more dangerous Credit: MEN SYNDICATION

The lanes have also been highlighted as some of the most unsafe by people who use the Global Cycling Network website. One cyclist wrote:

I was riding past here the other day and thought how dangerous it was at the time. There were 3 buses zig-zagged in that area. Needless to say I took the route where the two cars are.

– Cyclist

The Portland Street revamp is a scheme by Manchester council and TfGM.

Councillor Kate Chappell, executive member for environment, said:

“With any major change, there will be a period where road users get used to the new systems, but feedback is useful and – as with new cycling infrastructure elsewhere in the city - will be used to understand if any of the changes need to be modified.”

– Councillor Kate Chappell

A TfGM spokesman said the changes will come with a period of adjustment.