Guess the warning sign – Suffolk cyclists say overgrown hedges are a growing danger

Guess the road sign. An overgrown hedge obscures this road warning in Capel St Andrew. Picture: RAY

Guess the road sign. An overgrown hedge obscures this road warning in Capel St Andrew. Picture: RAY WAND - Credit: Archant

Suffolk cyclists have joined calls for improvements to the county’s roads, warning that overgrown verges now pose a greater danger than ever before.

Maurie Parish, honorary president of the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) Suffolk has written to authorities, including Suffolk County Council, to highlight “increasing concerns for cyclists and other road users”.

His warning comes after the EADT reported on Heveningham farmer Alan Rush’s complaints about alleged “ridiculous” failings from Suffolk Highways.

Mr Parish says overgrown roadside verges are a source of “increasing concern” with many now “overlapping the highway”. He warns this means cars are “forced” into the middle of the road, increasing the risk of accident, and leaves cyclists with no “escape route” if a vehicle misjudges when overtaking. He also says the overgrown hedges mean cyclists as well as road signs can become hidden from sight,

“I have never known a time when hedges posed such a danger to road users as they do at this time,” Mr Parish added.

The letter continues to say CTC Suffolk recognises that public services have “limited resources” but suggests that “some small effort” to improve road safety could save money as well as lives.

The group’s ultimate goal, he adds, is to secure legislation that sets out authorities’ responsibilities to keep hedges in check.

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Writing separately to the EADT, cyclist Ray Wand said he regularly came across obscured warning signs while travelling the National Cycle Network in south and east Suffolk. Although he says he attempts to trim some of the hedges he passes, “there are too many for us to cope”. “Something has simply got to be done about this,” he added. “Safety should not be compromised.”

Further complaints have come from Walpole farmer Mike Porter, who said a verge cutting marked for completion on SCC’s website by July 3 had still not happened.

Suffolk County Council encouraged people to report highways concerns through its online reporting tool.

“We cut the verges along our A and B roads twice a year and our C and unclassified roads once a year,” a spokesman added. “This schedule is managed to ensure we maximise the effectiveness of our cutting cycles.

Visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/highways to make a report.