WORK has begun to improve cycling safety at Northgate Gyratory after cyclists were involved in eight injury collisions on the junction in the last three years.
A new continuous green cycle lane and electronic signs, triggered by cyclists,are being put in place to warn motorists when cyclists are in the cycling lanes in an aim to reduce the likelihood that cars will turn into the path of cyclists.
West Sussex County Council has arranged the work as part of the wider cycle provision improvement scheme around the city.
Ed Clark, a senior cycle training officer who has helped publicise the council’s work, said: “Northgate’s quite a busy environment so when you’re in the cycle lane you’re on the outside of the flow of traffic it can make you a bit less visible to motorists so the boards that are going up are just going to make motorists a bit more aware that a cyclist’s approaching.”
Other cycle provision improvements have included the new forecourt at the railway station and the circular cycling route around the city centre.
The work to Northgate Gyratory alone is costing £210,000.
The Department of Transport has provided £140,000 through its local sustainable transport fund and the rest of the funding has come from West Sussex County Council’s road safety budget.
Work was scheduled to start on Monday and is expected to last for two weeks, during which time the cycle routes will be closed but motorists should not be greatly affected.
Paul Wreyford, a keen cyclist from Parklands with experience in the highway design industry, has is very aware of the dangers at the junction.
He said the new signs would help motorists to be more aware of cyclists but he thought it was limited in the safety it will give cyclists.
“The cycle lane design remains very similar to the existing layout,” he said.
“There still remains the danger and conflict that I and many of my neighbours have experienced on this system.
“This is; the high speed of exiting traffic at each junction, the lack of visibility for the kerbside driver when two vehicles are at a two lane entry, the failure of drivers to signal when exiting, and the lack of lane discipline/lane markings on the gyratory system.
“Unfortunately I do not consider that these issues will be resolved by a design that concentrates mainly on improving lane safety for cyclists.”
In accordance with the Highway Code, motorists must give way to cyclists in the cycle lane when entering or leaving the gyratory.
The new signs and cycle lane should be installed by the end of the Easter weekend.