Pedals and petals clash at entry to RHS spring show
The event is one of the biggest of the year in Cardiff but vehicles were locked out as cyclists blocked the entrance to the park across the controversial bridge from North Road.
They are angry about a cycle lane at the entrance of the new Bute Park bridge they claim should not be crossed by vehicles.
Anne Greagsby, leading the protests, was adamant Cardiff council was not putting the safety of park users at the heart of their plans for the park.
She said: “Our protest is about safety for cyclists and pedestrians. How can someone stand there and claim it’s safe when they build a safety ramp for disabled people and put a lamppost and a sign in front of it?
“I could cry over what’s happening to this beautiful park. I just can’t believe the councillors could be so ignorant about what people want to happen with the park.”
The protest followed objections to the building of the bridge and the official opening last week was marred by protesters who branded it a “monstrosity”.
Max Wallis, from Cardiff Friends of the Earth, said: “Even though they have marked it as an official cycle lane and done a safety assessment, any priority they claim to give to cyclists is not legally enforceable.”
Councillor Nigel Howells, the council’s executive member for sport, leisure and culture, said: “Stage 1 and Stage 2 Road Safety Audits have been carried out by independent consultants which identified the conflict between the proposed access and the existing footway and cycle route.
“As a result additional signs have been put up on North Road informing drivers that there is a cycle lane and that they should look both ways. Similarly, for vehicles leaving the park, signs have been erected informing drivers to give way to cyclists and pedestrians.
“The council is satisfied that all necessary safety and legal considerations relating to the new bridge’s access arrangements have been addressed, and the presence of a marshal on the bridge will further ensure the safe and effective management of the new arrangements for the duration of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) show.
“I am once again looking forward to welcoming thousands of flower and garden lovers from all over the country to the show which I am sure will prove to be another great success in the wonderful setting of Bute Park.”
Sam Coates, the Green Party election candidate for Cardiff Central, was also at the protests.
He said: “This access via the Bute Park bridge needs to be closed until it’s made safe for cyclists.”