By Jane Williams
A couple have spoken up about their concerns regarding the safety of a redesigned road that separates traffic from a cycle lane on Southmead Road in Filton, where several cars have already been involved in accidents.
Elizabeth Sealey was recently driving to an event at Filton Golf Club with her son Steven, who has adult learning difficulties, when her car collided with the concrete dividing plinth, which should have housed a warning bollard. As a result, both of the offside tyres on her car were burst.
It appears the warning bollard had earlier been struck and was no longer in place.
“Liz was going up to a dinner at Filton Golf Club, driving up Southmead Road,” explained Paul Sealey, who owns rental properties in Filton.
“It was a rainy and windy night so conditions weren’t good. The next thing she knows, she’s hit something. She stops and sees she’s burst the two offside tyres, front and back. She realised she hit something in the cycle lane.”
During the six hours that Mrs Sealey and her son spent waiting for roadside assistance, she witnessed another five vehicles also crash in the same place, including a taxi and a car containing two older women. And when Mr Sealey spoke with a local mechanic the following morning, he was told that several more cars had had further collisions at the same site.
The Sealeys have raised the issue of the dangerous road with South Gloucestershire Council as well as the police, but say they have not had much of a response.
The problem area is located east of the traffic lights that control the access to the BAE car park. After inspecting the plinth, Mr Sealey could see that the warning sign that this plinth was designed to accommodate was missing, having broken off at the base.
This section of road has been altered in the past 12 months to incorporate a cycle lane. However, the Sealeys are concerned that not enough thought was given to the possible risks of this change of use. They are worried that the warning sign was not internally illuminated; there is insufficient road lighting in the area; the street lights shut down at midnight, further reducing visibility; and the chevrons are not placed in appropriate locations.
Cllr Adam Monk, Labour, of Filton Town Council, said: “While no resident has contacted me about the road layout, I have seen the broken bollard myself and I was also contacted about the repairs which have now been completed. It is important that issues with, or damage to, street furniture is reported to the Council as soon as possible so any concerns can be dealt with in a timely manner. This can be done online at www.southglos.gov.uk
“The Conservative controlled Council is facing an unexpected £29 million deficit. There is now a budget consultation which is looking to increase Council Tax by 5% and slash many valued services. Among this consultation there is a proposal to reduce the brightness of street lighting late at night. I would encourage people, if they are concerned about the cuts being proposed, to participate in the budget consultation and remember that we can send a message to the South Gloucestershire Council administration and their Conservative colleagues in Westminster at the upcoming local elections in May.”
A spokesperson for South Gloucestershire Council said: “We were notified about damage at Southmead Road cycle path on 28 November and an inspector from our StreetCare Team visited the site and discovered that one of the reflective bollards, situated on an island segregating the carriageway and cycleway, had been broken.
“The island is well lit during the night and the bollard has been fixed following the inspection. We regularly inspect our highway network and members of the public are also our eyes and ears on the road.
“We encourage people to report issues as soon as possible.”
Opposite, Liz Sealey with the repaired bollard. Below, the damage to her wheel and right, how it looked on the day of the accidents