'Optical illusion' on cycle path in Keynsham injures almost 60 people

Just last week, a pensioner sustained injuries to his hands and knees as he stepped off the curb's edge. Credit: John Wimperis/BPM Media

Nearly 60 people have been injured as a result of a cycle lane, which opened in a Somerset town last year.

The development in Keynsham was designed as part of works to "rejuvenate the town centre" with wider footpaths, better signs and cycling and bus stop facilities.

But there are now calls for the cycle path to be removed before someone is seriously injured after 59 people were hurt.

Walkers say they have repeatedly missed the path's 'hidden' curb, misplacing their step.

Bath and North Somerset Council has now confirmed that a road safety audit is expected to take place in response to a rising number of injuries.

At the start of this month, one pensioner was left bloodied and bruised, after becoming the cycle path's latest casualty.

Dave Dawson fell as he stepped off the curb's hidden edge. Credit: BPM Media

Dave Dawson, aged 76, was visiting the high street in Keynsham when he sustained injuries to his hands and knees as he stepped off the curb's edge.

He said: "I was walking along the pavement and it's sort of like an optical illusion, it looks as if it's level.

"I was walking back towards the church and stepped with my right foot on the edge of the pavement because it looked flat. I lost my balance and fell down."

Keynsham South councillor Alan Hale, who obtained the injury figures through a freedom of information request, fears there will be a fatal incident if action isn't taken.

He said: “There can be no other local authority in the country that has created a development that has succeeded in seriously injuring 59 people at least and have done nothing to address the situation.

"We are elected to make our community safe, not to inflict significant injuries.

“To make it safe we need the administration and officers to take positive action, not sit on their hands.”

Cllr Hale is calling for the cycle lane to be removed in the interest of public health and safety. 

Councillor Alan Hale has called for the cycle lane to be removed in the interest of public safety. Credit: BPM Media

There have been 21 people who have pursued personal injury compensation claims against the council in relation to the road.

Seven of these have been rejected but the rest remain open and under investigation.

The council stated that no insurance claims have been settled and no other payments have been made.

Results of the council's 'stage three' safety audit along the high street were published last summer, which "indicated a declining trend in trips and falls as users became more familiar with the new arrangement".

The report found no fundamental issues with the design or construction, but the lane was painted red in August 2022 with the aim of reducing the number of falls. 

Councillor Mark Roper, the cabinet member for economic development, regeneration and growth, defended the council's response to the issues. 

He said the cycle lane was built to the government's current standards and a Stage 4 Road Safety Audit had been commissioned to suggest any further improvements.

Mr Roper said: "All reported falls are carefully examined, including by CCTV, to establish where and why they happen.

"We have worked with the town council and local councillors to make sure we record all incidents."