Close call: Cycling in Bournemouth and Continental cycle lanes underway

Experienced by the author a brief encounter of a cycling accident.

It was dark, cold and rainy, my front and backlights were on. I could see the dim beam of light at the front of me, rain diagonally cutting into it as if it was moving.

Spray from the puddles splashed my face as I spat out strands of my hair that was covering my face. I was peddling hard, numb to the pain as my leg muscles told me to slow down, but I just wanted to get home.

I was tired and cold. I was tight into the curb as cars passed by soaking me further as their tyres showered me in dirty water. I kept thinking of being at home in my warm bedroom wearing my favourite purple fleece top and warm pyjama bottoms with a huge mug of hot chocolate. I peddled harder.

I saw it move forwards but it did not register in my mind that he had not seen me. I saw the black bonnet of the car, slippery from the rain. Still on my bike I was then thrust into a wall ahead of me.

I stood up and took a few seconds to realise what had happened. My bike was on the floor and a little bent but still in one piece.

He looked pale and shocked as he gingerly appeared from his black car. He was only young and just kept saying, “are you alright? I didn’t see you, I am so sorry”.

Another passerby stopped her car and took my details, which she scribbled down on the back of a voucher she found in her handbag. She quickly informed me that she would be a witness and that she saw the car run straight into me.

I did not want to take any police action, the poor young man that hit me looked like the life had literally drained out from his body. I could almost see his capillaries leaking blood so that he turned a strange colour of white tinged by green.

All I wanted was my bike to be fixed. I cycle because it keeps me fit, it wakes me up in the morning and gives me a sense of purpose to the day.

In retrospect I cannot believe I managed to stay on the bike. I had one leg and half of my body on the bonnet of the car before straddling my bike careering into the wall like a toddler who’s stabilisers had just fallen off. I came away unscathed and live to tell the tale.

Looking to the future, Bournemouth Borough Council plan to introduce continental style cycle lanes are in place to increase cyclist and pedestrian safety on Castle Lane West, Castlepoint.

The lanes can be pavement level or lower however they are always raised above the road level. The plans are to try and improve road safety encouraging more people to walk or cycle including school children.

This style of continental cycle lanes can be seen in many European cities and have contributed to an increase in cycling.

This £650k government funded scheme is part of Bournemouth Borough Council’s commitment to make travelling in and around Bourenmouth safer. Improvements will be carried out on Castle Lane West between Broadway roundabout and Yeomans Way roundabout.

Councillor Michael Filer, Cabinet Member for Transport said, “Recognised as a key commuter route to schools and work places, these improvements will benefit those who already travel to school and work by bike, bus and walking, and will encourage others to travel more sustainably.”

“Some 25% of the town’s primary and secondary school children attend schools in and around this section of Castle Lane and it is vital to give confidence to both our children and parents that this route will be a safer option for pedestrians and cyclists. In doing so we will be able to reduce car journeys along Castle Lane West and reduce congestion.”

Work is planned to start at the beginning of summer this year and expected to finish by September 2014. To minimise disruption to the travelling public, these works are being planned to maintain two-way traffic throughout.


To fund this scheme Bournemouth Borough Council successfully secured government funding from the national £560 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which is designed to help local transport authorities support the local economy and reduce carbon emissions.

Nearly a third of all secondary school children and one in five primary school children currently in education in Bournemouth, travel to school on or near this part of Castle Lane West.

Approximately 30,000 cars a day travel along Castle Lane West.

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