IT may look like one of the most pointless cycleways in York.

But this strange L-shaped path is actually a novel safety feature, designed to help cyclists cross a busy York road.

A puzzled reader of The Press sent us a picture of the newly-painted bend, at the junction of Murton Lane and the A166.

Alistair Gunn wrote: "As you're probably aware, the junction of the A166 York to Bridlington road and Murton Lane has recently been remodelled.

"However, when I saw the cycle path that's been added at the end of Murton Lane, I just had to wonder why?"

We too were intrigued - but after speaking to City of York Council, it turned out the markings formed a specially-designed safety measure.

A council spokeswoman said: "This particular short stretch of cycle lane at the A166/Murton Lane junction should not be viewed in isolation as it is only a small part of a larger scheme put in place to improve safety following a number of accidents.

"The section photographed is a jug-handled turn, which is a nationally-recognised feature used to help cyclists cross the road. By positioning the cyclist at 90 degrees to the road that they're trying to cross, it gives them maximum visibility of vehicles approaching from both directions.

"This particular example has recently been installed to make it easier for cyclists to cross Murton Lane to gain access to the off-road cycle path on the other side of the road running along the front of the Livestock Centre."

She said it was the first part of a two-part scheme that would enable cyclists to get from Murton Lane to Bore Tree Baulk without mixing with other traffic at the junction.

The second section will be an improved crossing point at the A166 Stamford Bridge Road and Bore Tree Baulk junction."

The spokeswoman added: "This route is well used by cyclists as it forms part of National Cycle Network Route 66, which runs from York's Millennium Bridge to Market Weighton, passing through Murton and Dunnington."

Tracey Simpson-Laing, the council's shadow executive member for transport issues, said cycling had been addressed by a council scrutiny group in 2003/04, and they had looked at removing barriers to cycling, such as gaps in lanes, or lanes that appeared to lead nowhere.