Bolton: Chorley New Road cyclist death reignites orca wands debate

Discussions over the safety of a road will be held after the death of two cyclists in road traffic collisions within a few months.

A cyclist, died after a hit and run road traffic collision last Monday on Chorley New Road, close to the junction with Lostock Junction Lane.

The man who has not been named was taken to hospital but died from his injuries.

The driver of the van fled the scene but was later arrested and released while police conduct their investigations.

Earlier this year another cyclist, Lee Rayner, aged 52, was riding his bike on May 5 at the junction between Chorley New Road and Victoria Road in Lostock when there was a collision.

And last Monday another cyclist was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital where he died from multiple injuries.

And an arrest has been made.

Controversial £275,000 Bolton cycle lane scheme largely scrapped with council facing potential legal challenge

Now questions have been raised about the removal of the wand orcas by the cycling community, which once separated the cycle lanes from traffic, but were taken away after complaints over congestion and road safety.

The cause of the collision is, however, subject to investigation.

Inquest opens after Bolton cyclist Lee Rayner died in collision

It was flagged in a council meeting specifically about the Chorley New Road Active Travel Fund on September 20, 2021, that the removal of the orca wands would not comply with standards.

Minutes from the meeting say that the removal of the orca wands “would mean the scheme would no longer comply with the minimum standards set out in Cycle Infrastructure Design Guide or the Greater Manchester Interim Walking and Cycling Design Guide”.

“The scheme would also fall short on complying with Active Travel Fund criteria for schemes to be compliant with national standards,” it adds.

Cllr Andy Morgan told The Bolton News: “I had members of the public coming to me asking them to be removed, so I took it to the council, and it went out to public consultation. The majority of people wanted them removed so that’s what we did.

“As politicians, we’re constantly being criticised for not doing what people want, but now we’re being criticised for doing what the public wanted.

“The cycle lane stayed in the same place. It is exactly the size as it was before.”

Cllr Morgan added: “Unfortunately, this incident happened. We can’t plan for a hit and run unless we take cyclists off the road completely, which no one wants to do.

“It’s a dangerous road. There are discussions to be had about the speed limit on Chorley New Road but people don’t want to reduce that from 40mph either.

“We are really sad about what has happened, and our thoughts are with the gentleman’s family.”

Graham Cooper, 65, is an avid cyclist and is frustrated that the council are seem reluctant to priories walking and cycling facilities.

He said: “The council has an obligation to make changes to the road.

“It’s six years since Chris Boardman announced plans for walking and cycling in Greater Manchester and there’s only half a mile of protected cycling lanes in Bolton.”

A retired university professor from Astley Bridge, Mr Cooper says he often fears for his safety when cycling on Chorley New Road and would like to see it redesigned.

“There should be a maximum speed of 30mph and at the bottom it should be 20mph as it’s certainly an urban area.

“I also think they should make the road narrower because at the moment, particularly in the 40mph section, it feels like a bypass.

“There should also be a protected lane for cyclists.”

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “At around 4:20pm on Monday 17 October, officers responded to reports of a fail to stop road traffic collision on Chorley New Road close to the junction with Lostock Junction Lane. 

“The collision occurred between a van and a cyclist. At the time, the cyclist was taken to hospital to receive treatment but sadly he has since passed away as a result of his injuries.

“Specialist officers have been deployed to support his family at this devastating time.

“A 35-year-old man was arrested later that evening, prior to the cyclist’s passing, on suspicion of causing serious injury by careless driving.

“He has been released under investigation, whilst enquiries into the collision continue.

“Anyone who witnessed the collision, or who has any dashcam or CCTV footage should contact the Serious Collison Investigation Unit on 0161 856 4741.”

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