Cyclist injured in hit-and-run crash blames congestion from closed seafront roads in Southsea

A CYCLIST injured in a hit-and-run has blamed the incident on congestion caused by the closed seafront roads in Southsea – intensifying calls for the closures to be removed.

By Richard Lemmer
Sunday, 16th August 2020, 4:56 pm
Updated Monday, 17th August 2020, 10:53 am

Colin Johnson, who lives in Goldsmith Avenue, Fratton, was cycling along Eastern Parade when an an overtaking car crushed him against a parked vehicle in an attempt to avoid oncoming traffic, on Wednesday afternoon.

The cyclist was sent flying over the bonnet of the parked car, suffering a broken elbow as well as grazes and bruises across his body.

It follows a series of collisions occurring in the roads surrounding Eastney Esplanade and Clarence Esplanade, which were both closed by the council on May 1 so that pedestrians could more easily socially distance along the seafront.

More than 100 Southsea residents gathered last week to voice their opposition to the road closures. Picture Credit: Keith Woodland

The ‘terrifying’ incident could have been avoided had the seafront road been open to ease congestion, according to Colin.

The 32-year-old said: ‘It was very, very congested – the incoming traffic was constant, just cars, cars, cars.

‘I have never seen that much traffic going down the road before.

‘I remember thinking, ‘this could get hairy if the car behind tries to overtake’.

Colin Johnson

‘I’m pretty confident it would not have happened if the seafront road was open.

‘They need to do something about the roads before something more serious happens.’

The driver of the overtaking vehicle left the scene, with Colin appealing for witnesses.

The dad-of-two, who was treated at Queen Alexandra Hospital, said: ‘There’s no way they didn’t know they hit me.’

The closed Eastney Esplanade and inset, Colin Johnson who was in a bike accident which he attributes to congestion on Eastern Parade caused by the road closures Main picture: Keith Woodland

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The road closures have lead to increasing frustration among Southsea residents, with a protest against the measures planned to take place along Eastney Esplanade on Saturday – but the event was cancelled due to safety concerns following the hit-and-run incident.

Closing the roads without consulting residents beforehand was ‘appalling’, according Portsmouth City Councillor and Conservative group leader Donna Jones.

Cllr Jones said: ‘The time to reopen this road is now.

‘I have become so concerned about the safety issues in this extremely busy road, I have raised them with the police this week. I urge all residents to report all accidents and incidents, including historic ones, to Hampshire police.

‘We need strong leadership, to realise that the poor way the decision was taken to close the road – with absolutely no consultation with local residents and businesses - was wrong.’

The council is now considering two amendments to the road closures before they are fully removed in September, as it is ‘without a shadow of a doubt’ that congestion has increased around the closed roads, according to Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘There are two suggestions that have been made – we’re looking at whether we can reopen one lane on the seafront road running west to east, and I am meeting about that on Monday. And the other suggestion is to take out the parking on the southern side of Eastern Parade.

‘It’s a balancing an act of making sure the prom is available for everybody.

‘It’s about making sure people can walk and cycle safely – and I would recommend people looking to cycle use the closed part of the road because it is clearly much safer.’

Anyone with information regarding the hit-and-run incident is asked to call the police on 101 and quote reference number 44200308321.

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