St Albans cycle path to remain unlit after dark, despite robbery and bike accident

PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 December 2017

The stretch of the Alban Way by Fleetville Junior School at 5.55pm.

The stretch of the Alban Way by Fleetville Junior School at 5.55pm.

Archant

A popular cycle and footpath through the centre of St Albans is to remain unlit after dark, despite a recent robbery and bike accident.

Philip Fletcher fell off his bike due to a lack of lighting on the Alban Way. Picture: Danny LooPhilip Fletcher fell off his bike due to a lack of lighting on the Alban Way. Picture: Danny Loo

The Alban Way runs around St Albans and Hatfield, and is used by a number of cyclists, commuters, and pedestrians.

Cyclist Phil Fletcher is a regular user: “I have recently moved to St Albans, and one of the nicest things here is the Alban Way, like an arrow through the heart of the city, conveniently connecting various shopping centres and going beyond to Hatfield.

“One can avoid congested roads and simply go about one’s daily business on a bike.”

Mr Fletcher was recently riding along the path near the Old London Road Railway Station after dark, when he was forced to swerve to avoid an oncoming cyclist and ended up flying over the edge of the path.

The stretch of the Alban Way which passes underneath London Road heading towards Camp Road. Picture: Danny LooThe stretch of the Alban Way which passes underneath London Road heading towards Camp Road. Picture: Danny Loo

He said: “I don’t know whether there are plans to widen the pathway, to install lighting along at least part of the Alban Way, or to mark the edge of the path, making it easily visible at night.

“For that matter, I do not know what funding is available to carry out these measures or any other improvements to cycling infrastructure.”

Last month a young woman using the path in the early evening was robbed and threatened by two men on the stretch of the Alban Way between Morrisons and Hill End Lane.

St Albans council has said the path will remain unlit, although they have looked into lighting certain parts of the path in the future.

Head of community services Debbi White said: “We have investigated lighting the Alban Way but the cost is prohibitive. It is more than six miles long and lights would cost many hundreds of thousands of pounds just to install.

“Lights are not a guarantee of a complete end to the occasional cycling accident or any other incident.

“Thankfully such events are extremely rare and thousands of cyclists, pedestrians, and dog walkers enjoy using the Alban Way every week.

“The Alban Way encourages people to use green transport and take healthy exercise while plants, birds, insects and other animals can thrive.

“If anyone feels unsafe after dark, then they can use the surrounding lighted streets and take an alternative route.”

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