CAMPAIGNERS are demanding a radical rethink to improve road safety after Hampshire was named as the most dangerous region in the UK for cyclists.
Newly-released data has revealed pedal enthusiasts are more likely to be hit by a car on the county’s road than anywhere else.
In the last year alone, Hampshire police was called to 567 incidents where cyclists had been injured by cars while on the road, higher than any other region in the country.
Tim Pickering, of Hampshire Cycle Federation, was shocked by the findings and demanded greater action from police and councils.
He said: ‘Last year there were 429 incidents, so this year has seen a massive uplift. That’s a really worrying trend.
‘Police need to do more to investigate reports of dangerous driving. I have reported 22 close passes. But they have done nothing about them. That’s not uncommon.’
Last year Portsmouth was branded the most dangerous place to cycle outside of London.
Cycle campaigner Jon Spencer, 47, of Portsmouth, said he experienced ‘alarming situations daily’ and was ‘not surprised’ by the number of injuries in Hampshire.
The former chairman of Portsmouth Cycle Forum added: ‘Getting out of Portsmouth can sometimes feel like you’ve been through a war.
‘People are trying to use the roads in a hurry which is a recipe for accidents.’
Councillor Rob Humby, transport boss at Hampshire County Council, insisted safety was the authority’s ‘number one priority’.
He said ‘comprehensive analysis’ of accident data has been used to identify areas where measures could be put in place to drive down casualty rates.
He added: ‘Our focus on road safety, working with partners and prioritising resources, to put in place measures where there is evidence they will improve safety has led to a downward trend in the number of accidents involving cyclists and we are committed to further improve this.’
Road Safety Sergeant Scott Kerr, at Hampshire Constabulary, said the force ran ‘many different operations’ to protect ‘vulnerable road users’.
He added the service had also adopted the ‘close pass’ cycle campaign which targeted drivers who fail to follow the Highway Code rules on passing distances when overtaking cyclists.
He added: ‘The priority for our roads policing officers is to make our roads safer for everyone.’
To report motorists for passing too cyclists too closely, see https://secureform.egress.com/hampshirepolice