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Cyclist to sue after ‘shared space’ fall on Southend seafront
10:00am Wednesday 29th August 2012 in News
A FURIOUS cyclist is suing Southend Council after dislocating her ankle in the town’s seafront “shared space” zone.
Visitor Karen Stanley, 51, came to the town with her husband, Neil, 43, for a bike ride along the seafront, including the revamped £7.6million City Beach area, in Marine Parade.
Spotting three cars behind her, she pulled over to let them through, tripping over the small kerb which runs through the zone.
Mrs Stanley now faces six weeks in plaster and has had to cancel a holiday in Menorca, because of the August 18 accident.
She said: “We will be putting in a personal injury claim against the council, but we will also be appealing for more signs and road markings to help define the boundaries.
“We feel this whole shared space concept the council loves is very confusing and, with five different-coloured stone blocks and the road surface, it’s very difficult to know what is flush with the pathway or where the kerbs are.”
In the shared space zone, pedestrians, drivers and cyclists are supposed to mix freely. The scheme was a cornerstone of the council’s bid for Government funding to revamp the seafront, which was finally finished in March last year.
However, many users say the area’s layout is confusing and potentially dangerous.
The kerbs in some parts of the zone have a visible step up from the road, while others have a smooth slope into the pavement.
The Echo launched a campaign for changes last summer, after two children were knocked down in Marine Parade in the space of six weeks.
Mrs Stanley, who lives in Brentwood, said it was hard for outsiders to work out who had priority. She added: “I just didn’t realise the kerb was there.
“Thankfully, we both wear helmets and the police were nearby and able to call the ambulance quickly.”
Zulfi Ali, the council’s strategic highways and traffic manager, said: “We are very sorry to hear about this incident.
“Independent reviews have shown the area meets the necessary safety standards.
“However, as part of our road safety initiatives, we continue to monitor all our transportation networks across the borough.”
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