No way out for cyclists at Pump Corner in Dorking
YOU reach a crossroads and road signs tell you 'no right turn' and 'no left turn'. Straight on it is, then – but you’re facing a red light. Sadly for you, the lights never turn green. Welcome to Pump Corner. Richard Henderson reports.
THE only legal way for cyclists to escape this Dorking junction is to lift their bikes clear of the road and walk away.
Cars driving south west along High Street can only go one way – up South Street – but a cycle lane invites bikes to turn right.
Stopping in the box containing a painted bike, cyclists assess their options – no left turn into West Street, no right turn back along High Street, and of course the eternal red light barring the entrance to North Street.
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Dorking resident Nigel Parker said the signs are the result of bad planning, and believes the painted arrow on High Street actually encourages cyclists to turn right before South Street.
"It's absolutely ridiculous," he said. "What do you do? You can't go left, can't go right and can't go straight forward."
Mr Parker said cyclists would even be breaking the law if they wheeled their bikes across, as they would still be in control of a vehicle. He recalls a case when a Dorking policeman was prosecuted for wheeling his bicycle through a red light at the junction of London Road and High Street.
Another unusual feature of Pump Corner is the red light which faces up South Street despite the fact it is one-way in the other direction – so no car should ever approach it.
Mr Parker said drivers pulling out of Rose Hill could see the red light and believe they can turn right towards it, taking them the wrong way down South Street.
And Mr Parker has also spotted other poor signs in Dorking.
He said: "On the A24 going to Leatherhead at the Denbies roundabout, there's a sign for Westhumble that points south but it should point north.
"If you go south you have to go around the world to get there – a 24,000 mile trip. It's going completely the wrong way."
What Surrey County Council says:
"To prevent cyclists having to go round the one-way system to go west on the A25 towards Westcott and Abinger Hammer, we have made provision at the Pump Corner junction for cyclists to turn right from the High Street and proceed against the flow of traffic on the short one-way section of North Street.
"We have provided a separate cycle lane, stop line and traffic signal for cyclists at the junction opposite North Street where they are only permitted to go straight on.
"The signal remains at red unless a cyclist crosses the detector, which then provides a green signal for cyclists." (The Advertiser and Mr Parker both tested this and the light remained red).
Rose Hill/South Street
"There is clear signage for vehicles coming out of Rose Hill onto South Street, both in advance of and at the junction.
"There is no reason why the cycle signals at the junction with West Street should encourage drivers to turn the wrong way out of Rose Hill, especially in view of the distance between the signals and Rose Hill."
Sign near Denbies
"We aren’t aware of this problem. We will have a look at the signing of the Surrey Cycleway via Westhumble and rectify any signs currently misdirecting cyclists."