Traffic accidents ‘are to blame’ for bus lane

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The Wixams bus lane The Wixams bus lane

‘HEALTH and safety’ reasons have been blamed for a bus lane being installed on a housing estate which drivers have dubbed ‘pointless’.

Deputy Mayor, Councillor Charles Royden appeared on television last week to defend Bedford Borough Council’s decision to put a lane, only the length of a standard bus, in Kingsway on the Wixams to prevent motorists travelling from side to other.

Motorists were furious after discovering that the lane, which has been in place for two years, was now being enforced with almost 300 people receiving fines.

Speaking to ITV, Cllr Royden said that the bus lane had been installed for ‘health and safety reasons’ something residents claim is ‘rubbish’.

Marie Jepps, 68, who regularly uses the route when she travels from her home in Wilstead to the Wixams, said: “I am amazed to think the Deputy Mayor would state it was down to health and safety issues. The only accidents I am aware of have been on Ampthill Road where the bus lane converges with other traffic not at Wixams.”

In response a spokesman for Bedford Borough Council said: “The bus lane on Wilstead Road was included as a planning condition for the Wixams and has been in place since 2008. The road was made access only except for buses as a condition of the development in order to stop the road being used as a rat run to the detriment of local residents and to direct traffic to the realigned A6 dual carriageway. The Council has sought to enforce the bus lane with signage for some time but this has proved ineffective. The Council cannot pick and choose certain laws to be overlooked.

“The Council has been informed of a number of near misses at this bus lane and bus operators and the companies based nearby have contacted the council on numerous occasions to ask for action to be taken to improve the safety of the bus lane and to tackle the problems caused by drivers illegally using the lane. Bedford Borough Council has deployed transport officers on buses who have witnessed incidents in which vehicles have accessed the bus lane dangerously and forced buses to stop.

“All bus lanes in Bedford Borough are clearly signposted and include clear markings on the road itself. There is no excuse for not realising you are driving illegally in a bus lane and it is right that we will take action to keep our roads safe for the majority of law abiding road users.”



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