URGENT calls to improve cycling routes across the city following two serious incidents on the city’s roads.
Jon Spencer, chairman of Portsmouth Cycle Forum has criticised the city council for the state of the city’s cycling infrastructure.
We know that there are too many cars on Portsmouth’s roads but we are not going to get more people using bikes if they are going to be fearing for their lives.Jon Spencer, chairman of Portsmouth Cycle Forum
His comments come after a cyclist was killed after falling off his bike in Eastern Road on Friday night – which happened within 24 hours of a fellow rider being placed in a critical condition after an incident with a Citroen DS3 on Fratton Bridge roundabout on Thursday night.
Alarming statistics last October placed Portsmouth as the most dangerous place to cycle outside London and now Mr Spencer says enough is enough.
He said: ‘Something needs to be done. There was cause for urgent action before these accidents. Now more than ever, these incidents show that it needs to stop and investment is needed.
‘With regard to Eastern Road, this incident reminds us that it is not a good cycling path. People have accidents there all the time which are not necessarily always reported and yet nothing is done.
‘We need to stop them all being swept under the rug. The council have provided little meaningful action on tackling these problems and that needs to change.
‘We know that there are too many cars on Portsmouth’s roads but we are not going to get more people using bikes if they are going to be fearing for their lives.’
The city was ranked the highest for cycle casualties in four out of the past fives years from 2011 to 2016 – with 983 casualties reported alone in 2011.
Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council said that the council had been awarded £500,000 from the Department of Transport to carry out improvements on Eastern Road and that they were ‘not ruling out’ any scheme to improve safety along the road.
Cllr Jones said: ‘It is an absolute tragedy what happened on Eastern Road. It is terrible and we will be looking along cycling safety on Eastern Road – particularly along that stretch – to make sure something like this never happens again.’
Horrified eyewitnesses previously told The News about how the 48-year-old man on Eastern Road died after he fell from his bike having collided with another rider and was subsequently hit by a van close to the Burrfields Road junction.
Police were yet to name the victim as of last night.
The 55-year-old man who was injured in the Fratton Bridge roundabout collision is believed to still be in Southampton General Hospital with a serious head injury following the collision.