Drivers urged to step up road awareness to protect city cyclists

ROAD SAFETY From left, Luke Haskell, Dan Snow, Tony Light, Liz Burchett, Deborah Dalzell, Pop Ginger, Darren Ord and Daniel Lloyd at the 'driver swap' event in Guildhall Square' ''''          Picture: Allan Hutchings (150629-804)
ROAD SAFETY From left, Luke Haskell, Dan Snow, Tony Light, Liz Burchett, Deborah Dalzell, Pop Ginger, Darren Ord and Daniel Lloyd at the 'driver swap' event in Guildhall Square' '''' Picture: Allan Hutchings (150629-804)
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WE must all do more to ensure cyclists are kept safe on our roads.

That was the message at an awareness event designed to improve relations between motorists and bike users.

There are ways as a cyclist and driver you can be safer and look out for one another and share the roads safer.

Council road safety officer Deborah Dalzell

Portsmouth City Council decided to join forces with the police and a local lorry company to highlight how cycle accidents can be driven down.

It came on the back of statistics which shows 80 per cent of accidents involving cyclists last year happened at junctions and roundabouts where drivers turned left and couldn’t see them in their blind spot.

The weekend event at the Guildhall Square gave people the opportunity to get in a lorry which had been kitted out by a company with cameras enabling drivers to spot cyclists in all directions.

Advice was given about how cyclists should stay behind vehicles while they turn and wait until it’s safe to move on.

Council road safety officer Deborah Dalzell said: ‘What we are trying to raise awareness of is in large vehicles, how big the blind spot is. We are also asking drivers to not just rely on their mirrors to check the blind spot.

‘They need to do that physical looking and looking over their shoulder.

‘We are not saying it is the cyclists’ fault or all the drivers’ fault.

‘There are ways as a cyclist and driver you can be safer and look out for one another and share the roads safer.’

Bicycle bells, lights, rucksack covers and snapbands were also on sale.

Daniel Lloyd is transport co-ordinator for TJ Transport, which has kitted out 122 of its heavy goods vehicles with cameras checking its blind spots.

He said: ‘Statistics show 80 per cent of accidents are where lorries turn left, so this is our way to ensure safety for the drivers and for the cyclists in every aspect so we can bring that figure down.

‘It’s about making drivers and cyclists more aware.’

The event comes after roads minister Robert Good visited the city and said more money could be brought in to help improve roads and cycle routes. But he warned bids for cash to the government need to be realistic.

It comes as cycling campaigners keep up the pressure on the city council to lobby for money to help make roads safer for users.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum has spoken out after council leader Donna Jones decided part of the bus lane at the bottom of the M275 would be removed to try to improve the flow of cars into the city.