Call for action on 'dangerous' riverside path
A MUM is calling for action on a popular scenic cycle and walking route which ends suddenly forcing young families to cross a busy road.
Annette des Forges often cycles with her 10-year-old son Nico along the River Avon near her home in Hanham, either heading to Trooper's Hill nature reserve or into the city centre.
The route takes them past the back of Conham River car park but after 100 yards or so the path ends as the river widens, forcing people up to the main Conham Road.
As there is no path or pavement to the left, they have to cross the road to reach the pavement on the opposite side.
They then have to walk a further 200 yards before they can cross back where the riverside footpath starts again.
This poses an even worse danger because the entrance to the path, at the start of Crews Hole Road, is opposite a blind bend.
Annette, a physiotherapist, said: “There's a bit of cycle path missing so you have to use the footpath on the other side of the road. There's two points where you are forced to cross the road and there's no crossing at either point.
“You have to rely on your ears because the part where you have to cross to pick up the river path again is on a blind blind. There's no way to see if there's an oncoming car.
“For families, especially those who want to walk with a pushchair or pram or who are cycling with children on bikes, it's very dangerous. The road is meant to be 20mph but cars go much faster than that.”
Annette, who is half English and half German, said the only reason there's not been an accident is, ironically, because it is so dangerous.
“It's so obviously dangerous that people either avoid going there or are just so super, super careful and don't let go of their children's hands. It means it's very nerve-racking for people.”
Annette said she believes the stretch is putting many families off enjoying the route.
“I try to teach my son that you don't have to drive into town, you can cycle but the part where people have to cross the road will stop many people from doing that. It's dissecting Hanham from the rest of Bristol.
“It's really beautiful here and more people should be able to experience it stress free. That's not the case at the moment.”
Annette said there were a number of options the council could look at to make the route safer, including installing two sets of traffic lights or two zebra crossings.
“The cheapest option would be to put a mirror up opposite the blind bend then people could see what was coming but it's not really an ideal situation.
“The council seems to find money to spend in other areas like Clifton. Just because we're on the outskirts doesn't mean we should have a lesser service. If the council wants to encourage cycling and get people to use the outdoors more, then they should be providing safe connections.”
Until recently the route was even more perilous due to overhanging vegetation alongside the pavement, although this has now been cut back.
Annette posted her dismay at the situation on the Facebook page Hanham Mums and received support for her campaign.
One mum said: “I've been doing it for nine years, it's very dangerous...when I take kids along on bikes it's really dangerous to cross so I avoid now.”
St George Troopers Hill councillor Fabian Breckels said: “Residents have approached me about the crossing at the end of Crews Hole Road and Conham Road and I have been trying to get officers to sort that out for some time. At present I am having officers draw up a scheme of road markings and signage using Section 106 finds to make road users more aware and slow down.
“Residents have not yet approached me about the other end of Conham Road, but I am more than happy to take that up for them should they wish.”
A city council spokesperson said that an area committee would consider a number of safety measures to improve this section of the Conham Vale footpath for users.
He said: "These include cutting back overgrown areas to improve the visibility for pedestrians as well as installing new signage and road markings to alert drivers."