Cyclists in Milton Keynes have reacted angrily to a decision by town planners to make buildings, trees, street furniture and the road itself much easier to see by painting them all luminous green. The decision follows a number of near misses where pedestrians almost bumped into street furniture or large buildings and then threatened to sue the council on the grounds that they should be more clearly marked.
‘A house is a very large and potentially dangerous obstacle’ said Health and Safety Officer Kenneth Scrivens. ‘If someone were to fail to spot it and walk into the brickwork, they could potentially suffer serious scratches and bruising. It’s our job to reduce the risk of such accidents, and so are taking steps to make sure that everything in the town is clearly visible at all times to everybody.’
Cars, lorries and pedestrians will also be compelled to be repainted in high-visibility luminous yellow paint while cats, squirrels and urban foxes will also be made more visible, following a study that a number of accidents are caused by drivers swerving to avoid badly lit mammals that have strayed onto the highway.
But local cyclists are furious at the plan that has made them the same colour as their immediate surroundings. ‘We’ve all spent a fortune on these luminous jackets, trousers and cycle clips’ said local cyclist Mark Randle. ‘Suddenly our hi-visibility cycling gear has turned into the most effective camouflage available. Now we’re completely invisible.’
But a cycle shop in the town is cashing in on the crisis by advertising ‘normal clothes’ for cyclists to make them stand out. ‘They are the same as the normal clothes that everyone used to wear, jeans, T shirts, anoraks or whatever…’ explained Mr Randle, ‘But they’ve got the word ‘safety’ at the front, so they are about twice the price.’