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.”