A REFUGE built in the middle of the A38 to protect people crossing the busy road in Alveston is a "death trap" for cars and cyclists, villagers have claimed.

The two concrete islands off St David’s Lane were constructed in November as a traffic barrier following a couple of incidents involving pedestrians.

Yet, since the "ill-placed" safety cushions were tacked on six months ago at least four car accidents have occurred at the junction, locals have said.

Kirsty Sims, 39, from Alveston, said turning right from the road onto the A38 was very tight since the installation of the refuge. Vehicles have grazed and smashed into the concrete block right off the bend, bashing the railings attached to it on several occasions.

The mother-of-two said: "Unless the road is clear you have to stop in the middle of it to turn because the pedestrian refuge comes too far in the road. It can be very dangerous."

Now most pedestrians are staying clear of the crossing, she explained.

"It not safe for car users and not safe for cyclists or pedestrians," she added. "I’ve seen more people crossing the road outside of the barrier than in the refuge."

And cyclists feel more vulnerable than ever at the junction, according to Dave Taylor, of Thornbury, who rides past what he calls the "lethal, ill-conceived and idiotic" refuge at 7am every weekday.

He contacted South Gloucestershire Council several months ago complaining that the safety islands had made the road far too narrow.

As a result, highways bosses moved the cycle lane on that stretch of the A38 three feet to the left. Yet, this has made the situation worse, he said, as the cycle path now abruptly ends at the start of the bus lane.

"If a bus is picking up passengers, unless I learn the art of teleportation, I need to swerve into the now narrowed traffic lane," he said in a letter to the Gazette.

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said the refuge was put in place following growing public demand to improve safety at the junction.

He said: "The island allows pedestrians to cross the A38 from David’s Lane to The Street more easily and also provides better access to a nearby bus stop.

"Following feedback we received about the scheme, some minor modifications have been carried out to the central pedestrian island and some changes to the road markings were introduced to the southbound lane to make it safer for cyclists. We will continue to monitor this junction."