Future Portsmouth Tour bid '˜must include road safety strategy' say cycling leaders
CYCLE leaders are calling for any fresh bid by Portsmouth to stage the Tour de France to include a detailed strategy to improve road safety.
Portsmouth Cycle Forum believes original hopes of staging the spectacle in 2019 now look ‘dead in the water’.
And members say a request to the government and Tour bosses to host the event in future years should come with a plan for how the city is committed to ensuring all road users are safe and not placed in danger getting about.
Jon Spencer, who serves on the committee of Portsmouth Cycle Forum, said: ‘The 2019 bid seems a bit dead in the water, because British Cycling won’t support it.
‘The World Championships are being held in Yorkshire in the same year and British Cycling has made it clear it won’t support another major cycling event that year.
‘So Portsmouth’s bid is a bit of a non-starter, which is a pity.
‘However, it would be great to have the Tour de France here in another year.
‘What we would like to see, is part of that bid talking about how we can try and sort out, some of the issues we have here with cycle safety.
‘While we should focus on getting the event here, let’s commit to improving safety as well.’
The message comes amid controversy over Portsmouth’s application to the government for funding to host the event in 2019.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport admitted to losing the business case for funds – presented by Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond – before tracking it down after correcting an ‘administrative error’.
Information obtained by The News under the FOI Act revealed the council paid ‘external parties’ £1,070 to carry out two days work on the dossier.
All this comes after Portsmouth this year was again ranked the most dangerous place for cyclists to ride outside London.
Department for Transport figures revealed 888 cyclists were injured per one million of the population in 2015 – worse than anywhere else outside the capital’s boroughs.
Meanwhile, Cllr Donna Jones, council leader, says it’s ‘50-50’ as to whether Portsmouth secures its bid for funding to stage Le Tour.
Talking on local radio, Cllr Jones said: ‘For the sponsors of Le Tour, they would like I think to have cyclists going along the beautiful beaches of Southsea and through the South Downs, which could be amazing.’