Council chiefs are planning to put a cycle lane outside a Fleetwood school’s gates – sending bikes into the path of oncoming cars on a one-way street.
The scheme has been labelled “madness” by staff and parents at Shakespeare Primary School on Manor Road.
Shakespeare headteacher Susan Bartlett says the scheme is ill-thought out and could put children and cyclists at risk, and argues there hasn’t been enough proper consultation.
The school is opposing the two-way cycle lane with a formal objection and a petition, and hopes to persuade Lancashire County Council to consider an alternative road for the scheme, where there is no school.
County Hall says the cycle lane is being proposed to offer cyclists an alternative route to busy Poulton Road, improve the cycle routes across town to schools on Broadway and also reduce cycle use on congested Lord Street.
Alasdair Simpson, senior cycling officer for Lancashire County Council, says Manor Road is a good location for the cycle lane because it is quieter and safer than alternatives.
But Mrs Bartlett says the “contraflow” cycle scheme on one-way Manor Road does not provide solutions to any of the council’s aims and in fact creates greater danger.
She said: “This is madness and it will put our pupils and cyclists at risk of a very nasty accident. Our pupils have to cross Manor Road to get into school, but at the moment the traffic is only coming one way and they know where they are with it. If we get this new cycle lane, we could have cyclists bombing towards them in the mornings or at home times just as children are trying to cross the road. There are more accidents between cyclists and pedestrians than there are pedestrians and cars.
“Manor Road is already narrow, this scheme is just not safe. What makes us angry is that there has been no proper consultations about this.”
The school’s chairman of governors, Neil MacSymons, added: “A much better alternative for this cycle lane would be Beach Road, which is wider and has no school. We are not opposed to cycle lanes, but these plans are in the wrong place.”
Shakespeare’s business manager Deborah Latham said the consultation process from County has been poor. She said: “Just one or two residents on Manor Road have received letters from the county council, and the school received written notification on November 18. Objections must be in by November 28, so we have had just 10 days to object.”
The school’s formal objection letter gives reasons why the plans do not match the county council’s stated aims.
A petition has also been set up, with parents and local residents already signing it, and leaflets have been sent to every house on Manor Road.
Despite raising these issues with council officials, Mrs Latham says County Hall is not taking the concerns on board.
Parent Catherine Tomlinson, of Rydal Avenue, said: “It’s a ridiculous idea, it is dangerous enough to cross the road already without having a cycle lane right in front of the school.”
Parent/governor Pamela Muswell-Haddow, of Westgate, said: “We already have a nightmare with people double parking. Adding this cycle lane into the mix is ludicrous.”
Coun Mike Barrowclough, Fleetwood Town Council member for Warren ward, is one of several town and borough councillors supporting the objectors. He said: “This adds another potential traffic hazard to what is already a narrow road. Money could be better spent elsewhere”
Alasdair Simpson, senior cycling officer for Lancashire County Council, said: “We believe there are a number of potential benefits to our proposal. Compared with nearby alternatives, Manor Road is a quieter, safer, link for cyclists from the housing estate to schools, shops and other amenities, and has a 20mph speed limit.
“We have observed that many cyclists ignore the one-way signs currently in place and already safely use Manor Road in both directions, with no injury accidents to pedestrians or cyclists recorded in the past five years. Formalising the contraflow would improve safety further by making drivers aware of the potential for cyclists travelling in the opposite direction, and encourage cyclists to use the road rather than the pavement. “
We have received an objection from Shakespeare Primary School and will reflect this along with all representations received when the cabinet member for highways and transport decides whether the proposal should go ahead.”
Anyone wishing to object to the scheme can also contact County Hall directly by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org , quoting ref:LSG4\5.52404\RH3