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‘Dangerous’ puddles on Cardiff cycle paths

A picture from last week showing flooding on a well used section of cycle path on North Road in Cardiff (Pic: Cardiff Cycle City member)

PICTURES of huge puddles and tales of a “minor lake” on Cardiff cycle lanes have been raised in a cycle group’s calls for better maintenance of paths.

The chair of Cardiff Cycle City, Chris Roberts, said cyclists had expressed “real concern” about the state of cycle paths in the city, especially after periods of heavy rainfall similar to last week.

Recalling the moment he was cycling along a section of the Taff Trail in Gabalfa, where he encountered what he described as a “minor lake”, Mr Roberts explained how poorly maintained paths could create a real risk.

He said: “There were some pedestrians coming towards me. I did not want to end up splashing them, so I tried to move over onto the side and found myself in a pothole and I nearly came off my bike.

“You can’t see what is underneath. It could be that there is glass there, it could be that there is a pot hole there, it could be that there is a brick there that causes you to fall off, and for particularly elderly cyclists and children it could cause significant injuries. They are a safety issue.”

A picture posted by Cardiff Cycle City on X, formerly Twitter, on February 23 shows a section of the North Road cycle path submerged. A spokesperson for Cardiff Council said council officers were checking gullies to see if there were any blockages there.

Mr Roberts  said the puddle at that particular location was about three inches deep when he was there just over a week ago.

He added: “And it is frustrating because the council has invested in some brilliant cycle infrastructure.

“It is better than it used to be, but we are still having problems with wet leaves on cycle routes, proving very slippery and very dangerous and there needs to be a better maintenance regime in place.”

Mr Roberts went on to add the importance of maintaining cycle paths in relation to encouraging people out of their cars and tackling climate change and congestion.

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On the Taff Trail, which was part of a Cardiff Cycle City video showing the state of cycle paths, he said: “It is very well used. People are commuting from Taff’s Well and as far as Pontypridd. If you cycle along there at about 5.30pm or 6pm, the number of people who are clearly commuting is amazing.

“It is not an optional extra, it is not something nice to have, it is the way those people get into work and avoid adding cars to the traffic jams on the A470.”

Cardiff Council said exceptionally high levels of rainfall this year had contributed to a high amount of surface water on the city’s roads and cycle paths.

A council spokesperson said: “The city is experiencing exceptionally high levels of rainfall this year. So far this February the amount of rain which has fallen in Cardiff is almost 260% higher than the average rainfall for this time of year.

“This level of rainfall will always have an impact on surface water gathering and on the time it takes for water to drain away naturally.
“The land on either side of the Taff Trail is saturated meaning the water on the cycleway doesn’t have anywhere to run off which will cause ponding.

“We are aware of surface water on the cycleway around the castle and highway officers are checking gullies to see if there are any blockages in the system, but the huge amount of rainfall we’ve seen this winter will be playing its part in ponding across the city.”