To consider the proposals set out in the report.
Paul Mason from the Tunbridge Wells Bicycle Users Group had registered to speak and made the following comments:
- TWBUG campaigned for better road infrastructure that would enable people to leave their car keys at home.
- The latest report from Department for Transport on Road Safety stated that 92% of cyclist accidents were caused by motorists. And 75% of those casualties occurred within 20 metres of a junction.
- The equivalent report on pedestrian safety stated that the most common factor for pedestrian accidents was the failure by motorists to look properly.
- A reduction in vehicle speeds would significantly reduce casualties and improve safety.
- There were a number of speeding reducing measures that could be implemented, one of which was having tight radius junctions.
- It was therefore disappointing that the report included 44 proposed works of which 22 were Bell Mouth junctions. These were dangerous and intimidating designs that made crossing difficult.
- Action was now needed and a request should be made to Kent CC to bring a report to the next JTB giving the reasons why these junctions were being installed.
Louise Robertson had registered to speak and made the following comments:
- Job included teaching adults and children to cycle on the roads – Bikeability - which aimed to increase cycling and reduce casualties.
- One of the main teaching aims was for cyclists to take the lane and use a primary position around junctions. This meant using the centre of the lane, which was much safer. Teaching someone, particularly a child to take the lane and to keep cars behind was very challenging at Bell Mouth junctions.
- Some junctions took 35 steps to cross from one side to the other.
- Cars used these junctions as an opportunity to cut around cyclists rather than slowing down to a more appropriate speed.
- Children continually witnessed drivers turning into side roads on the wrong side of the road because it was wide enough to do so.
- This type of road encouraged inconsiderate driving.
- It was thought this junction type was an old style and was shocked that the design was still being introduced on new roads.
- Bell Mouth junctions encouraged speed, overtaking and poorly judged road entry.
- Streets should be designed to allow people to cross safely, ensuring that vehicles slowed down to turn and where drivers stayed behind cyclists at corners.
Julian Cook, District Manager, Kent County Council introduced the report that gave a summary of the schemes that were programmed for delivery in 2019/20.
Discussion included the following comments:
- Bell Mouth junctions were designed as part of the public highway. The public highway must be accessible to all users.
- Bell Mouth junctions were designed to cater for all types of traffic. A Bell Mouth junction would be appropriate for vehicles such as a refuge truck to avoid having to mount the pavement in order to gain access to the road. There were incidents of pedestrians being hit at square junctions due to large vehicles overhanging.
- This was a national issue and consideration needed to be given to better protect vulnerable road users. The introduction of a central island was a measure that could be used that would mean pedestrians were not having to negotiate a wide crossing in one go.
- Appropriate measures needed to be fed into the design guide that would inform developers during the planning application process.
- Discussions and the reasons for the introduction of Bell Mouth junctions needed to be undertaken at an early stage. Retrofitting junctions was costly so any measures to avoid this should be considered.
- Square junctions were not appropriate for all roads. Larger vehicles required wider junctions in order to gain access.
- Road junctions needed to be considered individually as each had different purposes and requirements. Kent CC had a team of professional engineers who designed roads. Their remit was to look at all road users and design something that was safe. A blanket approach to junctions was not appropriate.
- Kent CC to consider looking at the design guide to see whether it adequately covered the concerns raised and to amend as necessary.
- Kent CC were aware of some resurfacing work in the Parish of Capel that was coming off and this had been reported. The contractor had been informed and were now coming back to repair at their own cost.
- The team at Kent CC were applauded on their responses to questions raised.
RESOLVED – That the report be noted.