‘Wands’ aimed at protecting cyclists will be ditched after proving a hazard

By Harrison Galliven, Local Democracy Reporter

A controversial cycle lane revealed to endanger cyclists and motorists alike is to be ‘fixed’ and made permanent, following a trial period, which drew a mixed response from Croydon road users.

Since the spring of 2023, Croydon’s Brighton Road has featured a cycle lane segregated by safety wands. This stretch from Bartlett Street to Purley High Street was intended to give cyclists a safe route along the busy traffic corridor.

The review has found evidence showing that the widened cycle lane has improved conditions for cyclists and pedestrians. The road has also seen a general reduction in speed across the 12-hour period of 7am to 7pm.

However, these benefits were overshadowed by news that road safety audits found this segregation to be dangerous for road users. While the scheme is now due to become permanent, the Conservative-led council agreed that the safety wands must first be removed.

At a Croydon cabinet meeting, councillors heard how fallen wands had become trip hazards for cyclists and prevented cars from having safe spaces to stop along the road. The wands had also been blamed for causing a number of injuries along the road.

Councillors also heard how all three emergency services revealed that it had become difficult to conduct blue light responses along that stretch of the road. There were also reports of some Brighton Road residents being unable to receive deliveries because of the road segregation.

The consultation found that the wands made road sweeping difficult, leading to a dangerous build-up of leaves and debris in the cycle lanes.

Nick Hibberd, the council’s corporate director for sustainable communities, confirmed the cycle lane will be made permanent ahead of schedule, but without wands.

He said: “Light segregation to be replaced with road markings alongside the mandatory and advisory parts of the lane. We will also install buffers in some areas in the form of a minimum of half a metre wide hatch markings to separate motorised traffic from cyclists.”

Croydon’s executive Mayor, Jason Perry, said: “Whilst we are removing the wands and defenders, we are confident that these changes will benefit cyclists using the widened lanes, as well as supporting local businesses and helping to reduce congestion.”

Pictured top: The TfL funded cycle lane scheme was estimated to cost around £500,000 to install (Picture: Croydon council)

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