Path users are on a slippery slope

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 April 2014

In her letter “We need resolve on cycle network” (Opinion, April 3) Jan Poulson seems to hint that “the council” (unspecified) was at fault and should not have infilled the Littleham Cross railway bridge because it should have been a crucial link in the National Cycle Network.

Surely, this is stretching hindsight beyond its elastic limit?

However, off we pedal and Jan takes us to the Pound Lane area; either the Lane itself or Bapton Close.

There is a passageway between these two roads which many of the local residents of mature years use to access the Pound Lane bus stop.

Originally at the Lane end of the path there were steps which have now been replaced by a slope which said residents prefer.

However, on each side the path is bordered by fencing – which we’ll come back to – some two metres in height.

Consequently, in the winter the sun cannot melt any ice which has formed should such conditions prevail and therefore the risk on the proverbial slippery slope is obvious.

At a relatively recent town council meeting this point was raised and the fitting of hand rails of which the residents are in favour was to be looked into.

None as yet. Because of the age and possible infirmity of the path users, the risk of a fall is high and the nature of the hazard is between serious and severe – a broken 80-year-old hip is not too pleasant.

To return to the fencing: The reason for the slope has now become obvious, in that the passageway is to become a ‘shared use’ (pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchairs, etc) route.

At another recent council meeting this was discussed and agreed that it would be prudent to have ‘cyclists dismount’ signs put in place.

During the past few days, the ‘shared use’ signs have been displayed but as yet there’s no sight of the instruction to dismount.

Because of the height of the fences and the requirement for additional path width when the path is bordered by obstacles of various heights on either or both sides, I understand there is a requirement to exceed the minimum path width which, again, I understand is 1.5 metres, in this case by one metre, bringing the path up to a minimum of 2.5 metres.

At its narrowest point the path is just 1.33 metres wide. It is difficult enough for two pedestrians to pass, let alone a cyclist (dismounted!) and a lady with her shopping 
trolley.

Surely, assuming my understanding is correct, would it not be prudent to review whether or not the passageway is fit for purpose for this revised use BEFORE the inevitable accident or incident occurs?

Phillip Frewin-Smith

Pound Lane

Exmouth


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