Road users were left baffled when the tiny stretch of bike lane recently appeared in the Stirchley area of Birmingham.
The white-painted markings opposite an Aldi supermarket on Hazelwell Street measure around 7ft (2.4m) long and takes barely a second to ride along. The cycle lane was installed by Birmingham City Council in a bid to make the road safer for cyclists to use.
But locals have branded it ‘bizarre’ and ‘a waste of money’ while criticising town hall bosses for spending taxpayers’ cash on a ‘useless’ feature. Mum-of-one Lauren Hastings, 32, of Stirchley, said: "I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it, I thought the council must have had some paint left over. It’s completely useless, how does it benefit cyclists at all? They would be on there for a split second before they are back on the road.
"It is probably more dangerous as it sends them straight back into traffic. You’ve got to laugh in a way but it’s just stupid planning really. It’s just pointless and a waste of money. I don’t get why they went to the bother of even doing it."
Tom Ryan, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, added: "Opening up the road to cyclists is not a bad thing but taxpayers will see through this half-hearted effort."
Other baffled residents took to social media where Anna Dascalescu wrote: “I wonder how much it cost to install that? They [the council] can’t afford to do so many other things on our roads to make them safe ‘apparently’.”
Liam Smith commented: "That’s got to be a contender for Britain’s shortest cycle lane." Eleanor Lawton sarcastically added: “Yes, that’ll definitely make cyclists safe there.” Ben Leah said: “And drivers wonder why cyclist don’t use cycle lanes.” And Tina Helfrich joked: “I hope you don’t have a tandem.” Another web user added: “It’s around the length of a bike. Brilliant. I’ll look forward to cycling along it. What a joke.”
Birmingham City Council denied the markings are a cycle lane but were for ‘formal transition purposes’ for cyclists exiting a nearby crossing. A council spokesperson said: "This isn’t a cycle lane, it is just for transition purposes for cyclists getting off the Toucan crossing onto the carriageway.
"There is a shared pedestrian and cycle route that connects to the River Rea route with two new Toucan crossings on Pershore Road and Hazelwell Street. This carriageway marking provides the formal transition from the crossing or footway onto the carriageway."