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No to cycle lanes on A338 at Ringwood in wake of fatal

Christopher Gibbs was killed while cycling on the busy A338
Christopher Gibbs was killed while cycling on the busy A338

TRAFFIC chiefs have ruled out putting a cycle lane on the busy A338 dual carriageway near Ringwood in the wake of a fatal accident.

Christopher Gibbs (30) was riding home from work on the unlit road at around 10.15pm on 3 October 2017 when he was hit from behind by a Mercedes van driven by Kevin Johnson.

Subsequently Johnson admitted causing death by careless driving, saying he had not seen Mr Gibbs and thought he had hit a deer. He was disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to do 240 hours of unpaid work.

At the inquest into Mr Gibbs’ death his mother Deborah Turner pleaded for a cycle lane to be installed on the A338, and a road inspector agreed more protection could be offered cyclists.

Assistant Dorset coroner Richard Middleton later wrote a report calling on Dorset County Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (BCP) to investigate.

He said he had “concerns” there was no cycle lane and there were no warning signs alerting drivers to the possibility of cyclists at the eastbound carriageway near the Blackwater Junction or at the westbound carriageway after the Ashley Heath roundabout.

However, both Dorset County Council and BCP have now ruled out putting a cycle lane there.

Mike Potter, Dorset County Council’s road safety manager, said: “While there are no regulations that prevent a cyclist from using dual carriageways such as the A338, it is not something that Dorset council actively encourages.

“The road has not been identified as a key cycle route, and facilities for cyclists on or alongside the road are not being considered at this time.

“Dorset council will not be supporting the installation of cycle warning signs as, not only would it go against the prescribed use of such signs, they could generate a false sense of security and encourage more people to cycle on the A338.”

BCP’s head of highways and transportation, Gary Powell, added: “The council has introduced safer routes parallel to some sections of the A338.

“There are significant sections of the A338 within the council’s boundary that have ‘hard strips’ which can be used by cyclists to separate them from the main traffic.

“We have also reduced the speed limits along the more urban sections and have installed facilities to allow cyclists to safely negotiate slip roads.

“This is not a route we would actively promote or encourage cyclists to use and we do not currently have any plans to introduce additional cycle facilities or signage on the A338. Future grants may allow the council to consider more wide-ranging cycle provisions in the future.”

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