No payouts for High Street fall victims

NO compensation has yet been paid to anyone who has fallen foul of the “optical illusion” cycle lane on Keynsham High Street.

Soon after Bath and North East Somerset Council opened the cycle lane in March 2022, reports started flooding in of people tripping and hurting themselves in the cycle lane — with some warning the kerb heights were an “optical illusion.”

The council has since painted the lane red, and changed a solid white line to a dotted line in the hope of stopping the falls.

But it has not paid out any compensation to people who have been injured after falling in the cycle lane.

Forty people have sought compensation from the council for their injuries but to date no payments have been made, a freedom of information request from the Local Democracy Reporting Service has revealed. Thirty claims have been dismissed while 10 remain ongoing.

According to council figures, there were 25 reports of trips or falls in the cycle lane just in March and April 2022. Since then, about three people have reported falling in the cycle lane each month.

A road safety audit in December warned: “Whilst the number of incidents has clearly reduced since opening, it remains an ongoing issue with a relatively consistent rate of incidents per month, rather than one which is reducing over time.”

It is hoped that the dotted line painted in April will help to break the optical illusion believed to be leading people to trip — a phenomenon being studied by experts in visual perception at the University of Bristol.

Paul Roper (Kingsmead, Liberal Democrat), the council’s cabinet member for economic and cultural sustainable development, said: “This mitigation should make the change in levels clearer to pedestrians and prevent further trips and falls.”

But some Keynsham residents remain concerned. Speaking the day after the line was repainted, Jean Culverwell, 77, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “If you wear varifocals like I do, you are completely bamboozled by it.”

Bath and North East Somerset Council has been approached for comment.

John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporting Service