A pop-up cycling lane on one of Cardiff’s busiest shopping streets has been criticised after claims at least a dozen people tripped over it and injured themselves.
The two-way cycleway on Wellfield Road in Roath was introduced earlier this year as part of a pilot scheme that also saw the road made one-way. Footpaths were widened and parking was removed from both sides of the road last summer to allow social distancing. You can read more about these changes here.
But the lane has proved controversial, with one shop owner on the road claiming that at least 12 people have fallen over it since it was introduced. Cardiff Council are going to use spray paint to increase the visibility of the bollards after receiving two reports of people tripping last week, but said they had received no previous reports of the issue before then.
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CCTV footage shows the moment an elderly man fell over the lane bollards and broke his wrist, less than two weeks after another man tripped over further up the road and was treated by paramedics.
Jeffrey Atkinson, 78, fell into a wooden tree planter after stumbling over the cycleway on July 22, and suffered bruised ribs as well as a wrist fracture.
Mr Atkinson’s daughter, Dawn Christopher, 54, said her father was “very shaken up” by the incident, but only discovered that his wrist was fractured when he reluctantly visited A&E the following day.
Mr Atkinson suffered a broken wrist and bruised ribs after falling into the tree planter
(Image: Kaivan Forouzan)
“I saw him the evening after he fell, he was shaken and his hand was very swollen,” she said. “I told him he should go to hospital but he said it wasn’t broken and that he didn’t need to go anywhere.
“But the swelling continued and it was very bruised, so I insisted he go to A&E, where they discovered he had in fact fractured his wrist.
“I’m grateful that people helped him when he fell, but I know that he’s a proud man – someone offered to buy him some water but he refused and just wanted to leave.”
Mr Atkinson’s fall came a matter of days after another man was captured on CCTV tripping over the bollards on the edge of the lane and tumbling onto the pavement, before being treated by an ambulance crew that was luckily waiting in traffic further down the road.
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Dawn said that the fact that so many people had fallen over the lane since it was installed made her “very angry”.
“Something definitely needs changing with that cycleway,” she said. “It needs to be made a lot safer, or else people will continue to get hurt.
“It’s a white barrier that is holding the bollards and it’s incredibly hard to see against the outlines of the road – maybe it needs to be raised so people can see it, but it definitely needs to be made more visible, whatever happens.”
At least 12 people have reportedly tripped over these bollards at the edge of the cycle lane and injured themselves
(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
Kaivan Forouzan, owner of Luxor clothing store, was one of the first to help Mr Atkinson up after he tripped over a lane marker.
“He was quite shaken up,” said Mr Forouzan. “I was on the other side of the road at the time and I saw him fall, so I ran over with my friend to help him up.
“But his daughter sent me a message a bit later on to thank me for helping him, and she told me that he’d actually broken his wrist quite badly because of the fall.”
Mr Forouzan said a similar incident a couple of weeks earlier had left another man requiring treatment from paramedics after also tripping over one of the raised lane markers.
“He fell quite badly,” he said. “But luckily the ambulance was waiting in traffic on the road, so the crew on board saw what happened and were able to get out and help him straight away.
The cycleway got plenty of use during the recent hot weather – but not everyone is happy with it
(Image: WalesOnline/ Rob Browne)
However, Mr Forouzan claims that these incidents were becoming increasingly common – and fears more people will get hurt unless signage around the lane is improved.
“The lane is so wide, and where the bollards end is not clear at all,” he said. “They stick out quite far and if you’re wearing glasses or a face mask or something, you may not see where the markings are raised up and you could fall and hurt yourself badly.
A spokesman for Cardiff council said: “A stage three road safety audit was carried out on Wellfield Road in March this year, and the necessary steps have been taken to address the issues that were identified.
“Until last week, the council hadn’t received any reports of people tripping over the lane separators or the bollards on this road, but due to these two recent reports, the council will be increasing the visibility of the bolt down bollards using coloured spray paint.
“The bolt down bollards are in place to segregate the pop-up cycleway from the traffic lane and already have white reflective banding on them. By using coloured spray paint on these units, we hope to make them stand out to the public even further.”
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