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18th Oct, 2021

'New A435 road layout a death trap' say vulnerable road users

Ross Crawford 24th Sep, 2021

“IT’S a recipe for disaster.”

Campaigners and cycle groups have united in condemning the new road layout down Gorcott Hill on the A435 which leaves vulnerable road users stuck between two lanes of a busy dual carriageway.

The road layout was altered to accommodate traffic heading to the Redditch Eastern Gateway along the A4023 Coventry Highway.

Instead of leaving the dual carriageway as it was, Warwickshire highways has turned the length of the inside lane into one long slip road for the Gateway.

The outside lane carries on as before down to Mappleborough Green and on to Studley.

It means any cyclist or moped rider wishing to go straight on will have to dice with death in the middle of the dual carriageway for a distance of some 500metres.

Alan Head, a local member of the cycling campaigning group Cycle UK said: “It’s a recipe for disaster. You cannot sit in the middle of the road with cars whizzing past on either side, it’s crazy.

“Then inevitably you’ll have motorists who find themselves in the wrong lane and wanting to chop and change.

“It’s unbelievable that they’ve done it.”

Chris Oldfield of Redditch Road and Path Cycling Club said: “If you follow the Highway Code you’ll be riding the length of the hill in the middle of the carriageway.

“It’s only a matter of time before a cyclist gets clipped and taken out by an impatient driver.”

The A435 is used by many cycling clubs for time trials.

Just two months ago a cyclist was killed on the A46 dual carriageway, again in Warwickshire, this time near Alcester.

Local parish councillor and member of the Eastern Gateway Steering Group Maureen Berry said she questioned whether a road safety audit had been carried out by Warwickshire County Council before the alterations were made.

“So much is being done to make cycling a positive choice and then they go and create a junction like this? It beggars belief.

“The police have been running a campaign urging drivers to give vulnerable road users 1.5metres of space when overtaking.

“That means drivers will have to leave a three metre space around a cyclist going down Gorcott Hill – it’s nonsensical.

“If something bad happens here I can see a case of corporate manslaughter coming against the county council.”

A spokesperson for Warwickshire County Council said: “We are aware of the issues that have been raised around the Redditch Gateway scheme and are in discussions with local councillors, who we will be meeting shortly, to fully understand the impact.”

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