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Cycle path ‘accident waiting to happen’ says campaigner for blind and visually handicapped people

A CAMPAIGNER for blind and visually impaired people said she could understand people’s concerns about a contentious new cycle path in Mayals, and claimed its layout at a bus stop was an accident waiting to happen.

This has been rejected by Swansea Council, which designed the project.

Andrea Gordon was commenting on a new scheme along Mayals Road, which links Mumbles Road to Clyne Common above.

The layout comprises wide, shared-use paths for cyclists and pedestrians at the Mumbles Road end of the road and again at the top, nearer the common. In the middle section the shared-use paths effectively split, with pedestrians and cyclists having a narrow path each.

In this middle section is a relocated bus stop, which sits between the cycle path and the road.

The scheme is still under construction – and the council has previously said the design has been reviewed by the Welsh Government and also been the subject of a full road safety audit to ensure it was safe for all users.

But Ms Gordon, spokeswoman for the charity Guide Dogs Cymru and chairwoman of Vision Impaired West Glamorgan, said: “We understand why people are concerned about this cycle route, so imagine how much harder it will be for those who are blind and partially sighted.

“We can only hope that cyclists will slow down as they approach the bus stop. They are almost silent and the adjacent road is busy, so it will be very difficult to know when it is safe to cross to the bus stop. This is an accident waiting to happen.

“Creating more active travel routes should lead to a more inclusive environment for everyone. They should not lead to conflict and fear.”

Ms Gordon claimed that people with sight loss hadn’t been invited to comment on the scheme, and that she would like to see the equality impact assessment that was carried out.

The council, which has completed many active travel schemes in recent years and wants the Mayals route to extend to Clyne Common and through to Bishopston, has had to factor in trees and the varying steepness of Mayals Road. Sections of it have been narrowed to accommodate the new paths.

In a statement, the council said: “Once completed, we are confident the new walking and cycling route along Mayals Road will provide a safe environment for both pedestrians and cyclists.

“As part of ongoing consultation on new active travel routes planned for the city we have engaged with disability groups on a number of occasions and continue to do so. Our most recent meeting with Ms Gordon to provide updates on our plans took place on Monday, June 21.

“While these latest concerns were not raised at the meeting we have since responded to comments made about the specific bus stop and have offered to meet on site to look at any additional measures we can implement to assist those who are visually impaired or blind.”

It added that investment in new walking and cycling routes in Swansea was one of the biggest in Wales, and that it was confident that car reliance would reduce in the long term.

“This is great news in terms of improving our local environment across the city,” it said.

A residents’ meeting about the Mayals Road cycle route takes place at 11am on Saturday, June 26, at Clyne Gardens, near the mobile cafe. Mumbles community councillor Louise Thomas said Covid restrictions would be observed.

She said a large majority of residents opposed the cycle path scheme, although there was support for a cycle link between Mayals and Bishopston.

She said residents wanted to see Mayals Road returned to its previous width, with cycle lanes on both sides marked by lines on the road.

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