Injured pensioner calls for traffic islands to be removed on Southsea seafront bike lane

Roger Homer
Roger Homer
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A pensioner who suffered serious facial injuries when he tripped on a road island at Southsea seafront says the ‘wretched’ kerbs should be removed.

Roger Homer, 78, was taken to hospital after the accident, which happened when he was crossing the road from his beach hut at Eastney.

The traffic islands that make up the seafront cycle lane

The traffic islands that make up the seafront cycle lane

He said: ‘As I turned to avoid any cyclists I fell over headlong into the road.

‘I needed six stitches on my face, I had black eyes and a broken nose.

‘I think the traffic islands are highly dangerous. They’re a very bad design and whoever thought them up was a nonsense.’

Mr Homer said Portsmouth City Council should ‘take another look at it’ and find an alternative.

He said: ‘In the meantime let’s get rid of those wretched traffic islands, which are causing so much distress and pain, not only for me but for other people in the future who are likey to suffer like I’ve suffered.’

But the council says it has no plans to overhaul the system.

Council transport director Alan Cufley said: ‘I’m sorry to hear of another unfortunate incident which happened earlier this year.

‘The city council will, as I have previously stated, ensure the safety of the area is continuously reviewed.’

The chairman of the Portsmouth Cycle Forum has called for changes to a seaside bike route after Mr Homer became the third person was badly hurt after tripping.

Forum chairman Jon Spencer said the traffic islands along the Esplanade in Southsea separating the cycle route from the road were hard to spot and a danger for pedestrians as well as cyclists.

Mr Spencer, from Southsea, said the current layout was a compromise and helped cyclists, but called for a better solution to be found.

He said: ‘I know a number of people who have tripped over them. A friend of mine hurt himself when he ran into one while cycling.

‘I know there are lots of problems with it and we all wish it was better and hopefully it will be in the future.’

The traffic islands were installed in 2009 to separate cyclists from road traffic.

Mr Spencer said the current system was safer than before, but more needed to be done.

He said: ‘It was really dangerous. But it would have been so much better if the cycle route had been built up to the level of the prom.

‘Then there would be nothing to trip over, but compromises had to be made.’

Mr Spencer said he hoped an ongoing upgrade of Portsea Island’s sea defences would include a redesign of the Esplanade’s traffic system.