A DRIVER became trapped on a recently constructed cycle lane kerb after pulling over for an emergency vehicle, causing chaos and a “mile long tailback”.

The incident occurred near a set of temporary traffic lights in Whitelegg Way, Bournemouth, during road works which has left just one lane open to traffic.

BCP Council, however, says the vehicle was not stuck and that it is “not necessary” for vehicles to mount the kerb.

Whitelegg Way on the A347 has been both criticised and defended in community for its recently constructed cycle lane which forms part of the council’s £102m Transforming Cities scheme, to create sustainable travel links across the region.

Some have claimed the kerbs separating the cycle lane from the main road are too high, whereas the council says the design “adheres to national standards”.

However, on the afternoon of Monday January 10, resident Barclay Hoare told the Echo “what’s been threatening to happen has happened” after a driver allegedly became stuck on the raised kerb.

He said: “I was at the front near the temporary traffic lights when this police car came from behind.

“The vehicle needed to pass through the backed up traffic and this poor woman banked her car up onto the high kerb to make way and became stuck.

Bournemouth Echo: Driver apparently stuck on cycle lane kerb in Whitelegg Way, Bournemouth, after moving for police carDriver apparently stuck on cycle lane kerb in Whitelegg Way, Bournemouth, after moving for police car

“It blocked the entire road off because of the lane closure and temporary lights, so workmen had to try and rock her car off the high kerb. It caused carnage for around 20 minutes and a mile long tailback.”

Mr Hoare, 53 and from Parley, said this is the second time he has seen a driver stuck on the elevated kerb.

He said: “I am amazed at that road, I don’t think it’s been thought out well. The kerb is far too high and it would have caused quite a bit of damage to the car’s alloys I’d have thought.

“I travel down the road everyday for work and have also used it as a cyclist. I think it’s too wide as you could fit two or three cyclists alongside each other.

“I think the poor woman panicked and did the only thing she thought she could do. It’s just going to cause carnage.”

A BCP Council spokesperson said: “New temporary traffic lights were installed on Monday to support the construction of the next phase of sustainable travel improvements near Redhill roundabout.

“On one occasion several cars chose to mount the cycleway kerb to let an emergency vehicle pass – this was due to stationary traffic caused by the temporary traffic signals. The contractor working on behalf of the council has confirmed that one of these vehicles had difficulty re-joining the carriageway and to relieve traffic congestion a construction worker provided the driver assistance and drove the vehicle back onto the carriageway on their behalf. The car was not stuck on the kerb and no rocking or pushing of the car was required.

Bournemouth Echo: Emergency vehicles travel through Whitelegg Way, A347, in Bournemouth. Picture: Graham Hunt/BNPSEmergency vehicles travel through Whitelegg Way, A347, in Bournemouth. Picture: Graham Hunt/BNPS

“The temporary traffic lights on Whitelegg Way will be manned during peak times to observe traffic flows and where required signal timings will be altered to reduce delays; during this period where possible traffic will be held to give priority to emergency vehicles.

“We recommend drivers follow the Highway Code when they encounter emergency vehicles that are under flashing lights. Drivers are advised not to panic, and to consider the route of the emergency vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass. This includes pulling to the side of the road and stopping where necessary to let the emergency vehicle through. It is not necessary to mount the kerb and we would not advise vehicles to do this.

“Local emergency services teams are aware of the roadworks on Whitelegg Way and have not raised any issues with us.

“The carriageway on Whitelegg Way adheres to national standards set by the Department for Transport and can be used safely by all vehicles, including emergency services vehicles.”