Fury over £150m cycle lane scheme in Bournemouth that has made road too NARROW for ambulances and fire engines to drive down without cars mounting six-inch raised kerbs

  • A cycle lane was installed on Bournemouth Hospital’s main road.
  • The lane is part of a £150m Transforming Cities scheme for sustainable travel
  • Rush hour sees cars forced to climb the sidewalk to allow ambulances to pass. 

A £150 million cycle lane scheme has caused chaos in Bournemouth after it made a road too narrow for ambulances and fire engines to drive down without forcing cars to mount six-inch raised curbs.  

Photographs of drivers attempting to avoid emergency service personnel by mounting concrete barriers show the chaos caused by the road redesign near A347.  

The new cycle lanes are part of a £150m Transforming Cities scheme to create sustainable travel links across south east Dorset.

For the cycling lanes, it has been reduced to narrowed on A347 Whitelegg Way.

These lanes force ambulances into traffic jams, while there is visible tread marks on concrete kerbs from which drivers had to mount the tyres.

Drivers risk damage to their cars trying to get out of the way of an ambulance on a blue light run

If they try to dodge an ambulance at a red light, drivers risk damaging their vehicles.

A cyclist using the new cycle lane as cars squeeze together on the busy A347 in Bournemouth

A biker using the cycle lane, while cars congregate on Bournemouth’s busy A347.

A local firefighter warned that not enough space was available for engines last month.

Unnamed officers stated that cars usually can separate, even if this means bumping up against the kerb. Because of the size and weight of the kerbs, they are unable to do this.

Stephen Bartlett is a local independent councillor who stated that the “new cycle lanes” are an excellent example of how taxpayers can waste billions of dollars.

We now have issues that are completely self-inflicted.

“I was concerned that the road might be too narrow after the cycle lanes were installed, so I brought them up before work began. It’s not something I do.

I believe it’s necessary for both lanes to be on the carriageway.

“I’m not surprised by the photos. I know of peoples concerns about the height and difficulty of pulling out.

“It will likely hold up emergency vehicles, and that could pose a problem as it is part of the main route to the hospital.

“It is highly unlikely that there would be any modifications to the road as it stands now.”

Jean McLucas from Merley posted this online: “We just drove down it, and I feel quite claustrophobic because you are really hemmed-in by the high Kerbs on your nearside.

There is no escape route to allow you to get out of harm’s way or to create a path for emergency vehicles to pass through.

Chris Edwards from Bournemouth said that a fire engine would not be able to get through traffic if it is too solid in both directions. The curbs were also too high for a driver to reach the top. This is a complete waste of time and a risk.

An ambulance having to weave through traffic as it tries to get through the busy road

As it attempts to pass the traffic jammed road, an ambulance has to maneuver through traffic.

A spokesperson from BCP Council said that there is still room for emergency vehicles.

According to them, it was reassuring that the vehicles were moving carefully to the side of road creating room for an ambulance. We don’t recommend that any vehicle mounts the kerb.

Whitelegg Way carriageway measures between 6.4 and 6.6m across, in accordance with current National Standards set forth by the Department for Transport.

It is safe to use by all vehicles including emergency vehicles. The vehicle has been subject to a series of road safety audits and continues to do so.

The Transforming Cities Fund program team works with emergency vehicle operators. There have been no objections about Whitelegg Way.