Cyclists have savaged the creators of a “patently dangerous” traffic system in a damning report.
Merton Cycling Campaign (MCC) examined controversial road changes in Martin Way, Morden, which caused outrage when they were introduced in 2007.
The system of chicanes was partially removed last year after a flood of complaints.
MCC’s report called the system “patently dangerous” and criticised Merton Council for introducing the scheme, and a safety audit carried out by Transport for London (TfL).
Report author Hugh Morgan said: “In writing this report I was shocked to discover the lack of standards in the road safety auditing procedure.
“We have seen the results of this first-hand in Merton, and paid heavily for the auditors’ mistakes."
The system introduced five traffic islands to create chicanes, intended to slow traffic down.
But at the chicane points, bicycles were briefly diverted from the main road into a bypass – before being pushed back into it in a way cyclists claim was hugely dangerous.
The MCC argued the council-designed system put riders “in the line of fire”, and that a cyclist entering it in busy traffic “would have to be suicidal”.
The scheme was checked by TfL’s auditors, who criticised it, but the MCC said their suggestion for fixing the problem – to adjust the kerb size – was both ridiculous and lethal.
The MCC said both bodies had allowed the design to pass through a safety audit process despite key documents being missing or incomplete – and neither took reasonable care to ensure the system was not dangerous.
All of the controversial bicycle bypasses and three of the five islands were removed in May 2010.
A TfL spokesman disputed the report's findings – saying his organisation had made recommendations to change the scheme which were not taken up, and a complaint against TfL about the matter was not upheld by the Local Government Ombudsman.
Merton Council's cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration, Councillor Andrew Judge, said: “Merton’s road safety record is one of the best in London. "This is largely due to the council’s careful and considered planning of its traffic calming measures.
“An independent safety audit was conducted to ensure the chicanes in Martin Way meet the required safety standards. “We go to great lengths to ensure that all our traffic calming measures contribute to the safety of all road users, including cyclists.”