Wheelchair concerns over St Albans park cycling speed humps

A TEENAGER who has just had major spinal surgery is worried he won’t be able to visit the park he enjoys so much now “gentle swells” have been built to restrict the speed of cyclists.

Glen Shorey, 18, has been in a wheelchair since the age of 12, and after having a serious operation on his back he has been going to Verulamium Park during his recovery.

But recently his brother Adam noticed a speed restrictor had been built across the footpath, which he says will cause Glen a great deal of pain if he rides over it.

St Albans District Council said six of them were being installed as part of their ongoing plans to create new cycle routes in the park, and they would be no more than 10cm high.

Adam, of Corinium Gate, St Albans, said: “I called the council and said I was concerned not only for wheelchair users but for parents with prams and buggies.

“I was assured it would only cover the area for cyclists but I noticed a speed hump has gone in that covers the whole footpath.

“I don’t think the council is concerned about wheelchair users at all. My brother already finds St Albans challenging and it is not the most wheelchair friendly place in the world.”

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The concerned brother added: “We live just off the estate by Waitrose and we do go down there regularly and after Glen’s surgery it is an oasis for him. It is an important place for him because he does not go out all that often but now he will be in pain if he goes over these bumps.”

The building work to create cycle paths in Verulamium Park started earlier this year following pressure from local people, including a petition by the St Albans Cycle Campaign.

Council chiefs said when deciding on the speed restrictions they consulted the St Albans Disability Access Group. They also brought a wheelchair user, a visually impaired resident and a disabled resident who uses a mobility scooter to the park so they could provide feedback on the designs.

Heather Cheesbrough, head of planning and building control at the council, said: “Pedestrian safety is a priority and we are putting in place a number of speed restrictions along the routes including a number of rumble strips and gentle swells of no more than 10cm.

“There are four planned in the section between King Harry Lane and the Fighting Cocks, and two in the section between Westminster Lodge and St Michael’s. They are being created on the flat sections to restrict speed in areas such as the children’s play area.

“The speed restriction measures have been applied across the width of the paths to deter cyclists from being tempted to bypass them by crossing into the pedestrian area.”

The first stretch of cycle route between King Harry Lane and the Fighting Cocks is due to open by mid-September.