Potential for accidents ‘enormous’ on Shore Road - Wilson

Sammy Wilson
Sammy Wilson

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has met with TransportNI officials and residents to discuss cyclist and pedestrian safety along the Shore Road.

It follows proposals to allow the footpath on the sea side of the new A2 to be used by both cyclists and pedestrians.

There have already been a number of accidents along the route, at least one in which a cyclist has been seriously injured, Mr Wilson claimed.

“The problem appears to be that Transport NI have ignored all of their normal regulations when it comes to sight lines from the properties that merge onto the footpath, so that cars coming out of the driveways are not visible to cyclists, nor the cyclists visible to the drivers until the very last moment,” he alleged.

“Usually where there are cycle lanes on footpaths there is a part that is clearly marked out for the cyclists.

“The cyclists are permitted to use the whole footpath and even those on the outside of the footpath are not visible until they get within 15 yards of some gates.

“Those who stick close to the very high stone walls that have been erected as part of this road scheme are not visible until they have actually hit the vehicles.”

The East Antrim representative went on to add: “Some cyclists coming downhill from Station Road at Greenisland could be travelling at up to 25 miles an hour.

“In any normal circumstances Transport NI would require sight lines of at least 90 yards but because of the way in which the walls have been constructed sight lines have a fraction of this distance available.”

Responding to a query from the Times, a spokesperson from TransportNI said: “When the scheme is completed the footway on the shore side of the carriageway will become a shared footway and cycleway.

“This facility is 3.5m wide and cyclists will then be able to use it rather than the carriageway.”

But following advice from the transport body that people should emerge from their properties with caution, Mr Wilson responded: “Whilst on site with TransportNI, it is clear that even with caution many cyclists and cars had the potential for collision simply because visibility is not available until the very last moment.

“Householders will know how hazardous this situation is. Visitors and delivery vehicles will not have the same knowledge and the potential for very serious injuries and accidents is enormous.

“It is not fair that the owners of houses along this stretch of the Shore Road are left with this hazard which is almost impossible to be avoided.”

The DUP MP and former MLA concluded: “It is incumbent on Transport NI to look at solutions before the road is officially opened.”