Southampton are one of the latest local authorities
to install the arguably
dangerous road furniture known as "Armadillos". Their function is to
separate bicycle lanes from other traffic, and on the surface might appear
to be a good idea. It is interesting to note that this form of road furniture has
not received approval for installation from the Department of Transport.
However there is evidence from around
the country where these have
been installed, that larger vehicles whose road space has been reduced,
regularly clip them and in fairly short order they break up. After a break
up this leaves an almost invisible hazard, of a 17mm screw head proud of
the road surface.
Also on the point of reduced road width, every
motorcyclist has tales
to tell of occasions when they are forced to take avoiding action by
another road user who hasn't seen them. If the avoiding action required
is to swerve left, you can imagine the carnage which would be caused
by a motorcycle clipping one of these artefacts.
Another hazard is a trip hazard to pedestrians
crossing the roads,
in particular at night, when the walker doesn't have any advantage
of headlights. This will be aggravated if the local authorities in future
decide to save money by turning off street lights at night, which is
being considered by many of them around the country, to try to meet
the budget cuts being imposed by central government.
These Armadillos have been installed in Church Street, Shirley.
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