TAUNTON Area Cycling Campaign (TACC) will put up warning signs on the entry points of a roundabout to warn of its “dangers to cyclists”.

The group will meet outside the Market House and on North St to highlight the dangers posed by the “unsafe surface of the roundabout” on Saturday, October 8 at 10am.

TACC said they will be putting up ‘unsafe surface’ warning signs on the entry points to the roundabout.

A spokesperson for the group said: “There has been a failure to maintain the surface, so there are areas where the surface has subsided, potholes filled with tarmac and grooves between irregular cobbles.”

Euan Clayton, a road safety consultant, has assessed the layout and surface and has sent this recommendation to the council: “The blocks are laid around the roundabout in concentric circles with a continuous groove between each line of blocks.

“This may not pose a problem for cars, however, on a bicycle, the groove is virtually impossible to avoid.

“Any cyclist getting their wheel caught in the groove risks losing control.

“Whilst I understand that the council had plans for the roundabout, these have been postponed. However, the hazard still exists.

“A simple interim option would be to lay a smooth high friction resin surface ‘cycle lane’ around the roundabout. The resin and aggregate will infill the gaps and provide safe passage."

Somerset County Gazette: One of the stickers designed by TACCOne of the stickers designed by TACC (Image: Submitted)

Pip Sheard, chair of TACC, said: “Local cyclists told us in our 2016 survey that they felt unsafe going round this roundabout.

“After Station Road, it was top of the Taunton list for spots where they felt most vulnerable.

“When we have stalls in town people regularly mention it. We were pleased to support the bid when Somerset West and Taunton Council applied for the Government High St Fund to do work on the roundabout as part of their Vivary Park to the Station cycle route.

“They were granted funding but now the council are backtracking and saying they cannot do any improvements to it for cyclists.

“Neither of the reasons we have been given – the overall cost has increased and a bus priority scheme on East Reach might affect the roundabout –in our view hold water and should prevent the council improving the junction as soon as possible.

“A cheaper and simpler scheme could go ahead at this junction which can retain some of the cobbles but providing a smooth 3m surface in matching colour for cyclists to use.”

The roundabout in the town centre has now been removed from the scheme due to rising costs and the impact of bus service improvements along East Street.

Councillor Mike Rigby provided an update about the project to the full council on September 6.

He said in his written report: “The active travel element of the future high street fund grant allocation creates cycling improvement schemes that focus on delivering an enhanced cycle route between Taunton railway station, through the Firepool and Coal Orchard developments to Vivary Park with additional cycle-parking.

“Due to rising costs, as seen across the whole construction industry, coupled with the potential impact of bus service improvements along East Street and beyond, we have taken the decision to remove the Market House roundabout from scope at this time until additional funding can be secured, and the impact of parallel activity assessed.”

Councillor Martin Peters of SWT said: “I cycle daily and have experienced the difficulties with the surface on this roundabout myself.

“Our local councils say they are encouraging cycling for all the health and environmental benefits, plus a reduction in congestion, but this cobbled road is an awful surface, and is an obvious example of infrastructure that discourages cycling.

“I can understand a cobbled walkway in a pedestrianised area by a historic cathedral but these cobbles are on a major roundabout right in the centre of Taunton”.

Ian Bright, a member of TACC, said: “The cobbles are dangerous to cycle over due to the uneven surface (irregular setts) and the random spaces between them, which makes steering very difficult especially when trying to signal to other road users where you intend to turn off the roundabout.

“The danger becomes even greater when the surface is wet."

“If you want to encourage more young people to take up and continue cycling, safety is paramount.

“Cycle facilities should be suitable for all weather conditions, all ages and for those carrying small children, shopping and loaded panniers.”