Bollards taken out of a cycle lane and strewn across the surrounding area could pose a serious safety risk, a resident has warned.

Jeremy Logue, who lives in Etchingham Park Road, Finchley, said that on December 29 he spotted 19 bollards that had been removed from the A1000 cycle lane in High Road, North Finchley.

He criticised Barnet Council for failing to clear the bollards quickly enough – and warned that if someone were to throw one over a bridge onto the busy North Circular Road, it would cause a “catastrophic” accident.

The council has since revealed it suspects people have been removing the bollards – which separate the cycle lane from the main carriageway – to gain access to kerbside parking. Its maintenance contractor has been told to carry out patrols and reinstall removed bollards.

Mr Logue said: “There were bollards dumped at the side of the road near the bridge over the North Circular. They are quite heavy, and someone could throw one over the bridge and cause a catastrophic accident.

“I counted 19 either loose and rolling around in the roadway, dumped on the pavement or grass verges, or by roadside trees. It is appalling.

“There should be some kind of locking in place at the bottom of the bollards to stop them being removed.”

Mr Logue claimed he had reported the removed bollards to the council and was told the issue should be dealt with by Transport for London (TfL) – but TfL told him it was the council’s responsibility.

He also claimed the cycle lane was not well used, and residents had been complaining it was causing “traffic chaos”. “I think the whole scheme has been ill thought out,” he added.

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “We suspect that some people have been removing the bollards deliberately to gain access to kerbside parking. This is vandalism and a criminal offence, and we take this issue very seriously.

“This is a particular concern where such activities could create a hazard for others. Our maintenance contractor has been instructed to carry out regular patrols to collect any removed or broken bollards and reinstall as appropriate.

“We are monitoring areas where bollard removal appears to be an ongoing issue, and we will issue penalty notices to everyone caught parking illegally in the cycle lane.

“The population of Barnet is expected to grow by 50,000 in the next two decades. We’re keen to promote active travel as a means of environmentally friendly transport to help our residents to stay healthy when they’re out and about. By making our roads safer for cyclists, we hope to reduce residents’ reliance on car use, improving air quality for everyone.

“We are monitoring the use of this pop-up cycle lane very closely, and we are working to further improve the scheme and implement any necessary changes that are required to make this cycle lane a success.”