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Portsmouth Council keen to tackle cycle accident ‘hot spots’

Asks local campaign group for ideas

Recent government data about road accidents involving cyclists has resulted in the identification of a number of ‘hot spots’ in the city of Portsmouth. In response to an open letter to the council calling for action, Portsmouth Cycle Forum has been asked to come up with ideas

Portsmouth News reports that there have been 81 accidents involving cyclists in 21 streets over a three year period, with more than 20 of these resulting in serious injuries. The accidents all took place on 30mph roads with 19 of the 21 being A-roads. According to figures gathered by the Department for Transport, Portsmouth’s most dangerous street for cyclists is Park Road in Landport – a popular area with local students.

Portsmouth’s cycling accident problem has long been known with an average of 832 cyclist casualties per million population in 2012. Speaking in March last year, Amber Kerens-Bathmaker, the acting assistant head of transport and environment at the council, emphasised that it was something they were keen to address:

“We’re working hard to reduce cycling casualties. With new funding for sustainable transport from the government, we’ll be able to do even more. Over the next three years we’re spending just over £1m on improved cycle lanes and infrastructure schemes as well as £40,000 on adult cycle training and bike maintenance.

“We already run cycle training in schools and for families during the holidays. We also go out on the streets with police, talking to cyclists without lights and giving out free hi-vis gear. We’re running a campaign now for drivers to give young cyclists more space, and we work with schools to create safer cycling routes for pupils. We have also improved many road junctions so they give cyclists safer places to cross.”

Meeting once every quarter, Portsmouth Cycle Forum campaign for safer, more convenient and more practical cycling. Forum chairman, Jon Spencer, believes major changes are needed.

“Councillor Donna Jones has come back to us after I wrote an open letter asking for our ideas and we are working on it now. The worst places for cyclists are all found on 30mph roads. In the residential streets, we have got a 20mph speed limit. That is not where these accidents are happening.

“The question is what do we do? In the short term, the council needs to go to these hot spots to see what we can do. Longer term, we probably need more substantial engineering to be done to redesign the roads and address the problem.”

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Metaphor | 9 years ago

Good to see a council taking a proactive approach.

EarsoftheWolf replied to Metaphor | 9 years ago

Since they are replying to an open letter, isn't this by definition a reactive approach?

Also, a million isn't a huge amount to spend on iinfrastructure. Cambridge city council recently spent £800,000 dressing up a single junction in the city centre, with no tangible safety benefits for anyone.

sponican | 9 years ago

Thanks for publishing this - Portsmouth has some difficult problems to solve but it needs to get a grip. Portsmouth had the highest rate of cycle casualties in England outside of a few London boroughs in 2011 and 2012. Taking London as a whole Portsmouth is worse. I believe when the DfT publishes 2013 stats in a week or two Portsmouth will have got worse.

And yet the city desperately needs people out of their cars. It is hopelessly congested and has terrible health problems thinks to air pollution. Cycling could be great for Portsmouth but it needs to be made safe first.

I'd love to know more about the £1m Amber Kerens-Bathmaker proposes to spend. In most meetings with PCC they plead poverty so that is good news. I hope she will engage with us in planning how that will be spent.

Jon Spencer, Portsmouth Cycle Forum

PS - I did give an interview over the phone at 10pm last Thursday to the local paper. I was tired but I'd like to think I used better English than “Councillor Donna Jones has come back to us after I wrote an open letter asking for our ideas and we are working on it now. "

Just in case I didn't let me clarify. We did write an open letter to all councillors outlining a problem (not asking ourselves for ideas) and asking Councillors to treat it as their top priority. Cllr Jones came back and issued that challenge - we now are working up our response.

PPS - Portsmouth Cycle Forum holds public meetings every 2 months, not quarterly. Our next one is on 13th November.

drfabulous0 | 9 years ago

Well it's simple really, go to the accident hotspots, install bollards to prevent the ingress of motor traffic, blanket 20mph limit everywhere else and hey presto, problem solved.

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