National award for Portsmouth forum which led united front after death of Southsea cyclist Tim Atkins

A GROUP dedicated making Portsmouth safer for cyclists has won a national award. 

Supporters have rallied behind Portsmouth Cycle Forum (PCF) after it was named the Outstanding Campaigning Group at Cycling UK’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year Awards.

At a celebration in Harrogate in North Yorkshire on Saturday, the charity hailed PCF’s ‘tenacity’ and ‘determination' in seeking local reform after the death of cyclist Tim Atkins. 

The 48-year-old from Southsea died after he fell into traffic following a collision with another cyclist along Eastern Road in June last year. 

His family claimed he would have been saved if there was a barrier along the route and more than 150 cyclists – including PCF members – united in Guildhall Square a fortnight after he died in a call for safer cycle routes in Portsmouth. 

The group has continued to lobby Portsmouth City Council since, and the authority passed a Space for Cycling motion in 2017 – committing to a network of high quality cycle ways to be built using 10 per cent of its transport budget.

Cyclists and members of Portsmouth Cycle Forum at the vigil for Tim Atkins, held in Guildhall Square last year. Picture: Sarah Standing

Cyclists and members of Portsmouth Cycle Forum at the vigil for Tim Atkins, held in Guildhall Square last year. Picture: Sarah Standing

Tim’s sister Joanna has congratulated PCF on the ‘lovely’ win – pouring thanks on to its members for supporting her family at a their time of ‘tragedy’. 

‘The group was fantastic and what they’re trying to do is a really good thing – this award is something positive for everybody involved’ she said. 

‘The family gives thanks to the PCF for its support – beginning right after it all happened – and for getting something in motion.’ 

Ian Saunders, PCF’s chairman, has hailed Joanna and her loved ones for coming forward ‘so willingly’ after Tim’s death – claiming the incident was ‘the day we drew the line’ and ramped up its call for change.

‘We would not have been able to create as much of a motion without the support of the family,’ he said.

On Saturday’s award, he added: ‘It’s great to be acknowledged for the work that has been done over the last year. 

‘This award from Cycling UK helps to justify we are on the right track and is a boost to everyone involved in the campaign.

‘It may also assist in being further recognised locally in order to get our message across.’

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK, said PCF was a ‘tremendous example’ of cyclists engaging with a local authority in a ‘constructive manner’. 

He continued: ‘There’s a long way to go, but hopefully [Portsmouth City Council] will carry on listening to the forum’s recommendations for promoting safer and healthier streets that promote both walking and cycling.’