Strategy needed to keep Portsmouth cyclists safe on the roads

Cyclist Andy Henderson from Hayling Island, TJ Transport Ltd driver Tony Light, and John Gosling, MD of the firm
Cyclist Andy Henderson from Hayling Island, TJ Transport Ltd driver Tony Light, and John Gosling, MD of the firm
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CYCLISTS swapped seats with lorry drivers to get an idea of the blind spots they face on the road.

And other road users also got a chance to understand what dangers cyclists can face while out on the streets of the area.

An awareness day was held in Guildhall Square, which was hosted by Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire Constabulary, and the Mineral Product Association – a cycle-safe campaign.

And TJ Waste Transport had one of its trucks at the event, giving people a chance to sit in the front and understand what a driver can see.

Managing director John Gosling said: ‘We put out black plastic on the ground to indicate blind spots for the drivers.

‘When people sat in the driver’s seat they were quite surprised at how difficult it can become to spot cyclists.

‘Our trucks have extra mirrors to help the driver, and our newer vehicles have cameras pointing down the sides of the truck in order to see other road users.’

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of the council, has challenged cyclists to come up with specific ways of helping to improve the city’s traffic network.

She has asked Portsmouth Cycle Forum to produce a list of ideas which can help to make roads safer for everyone.

Her request comes off the back of an open letter by Jon Spencer, the cycle forum’s chairman, calling on councillors to take action following a lorry fire on the A27 which paralysed traffic.

Cllr Jones said: ‘I have asked them to come up with some ideas and come back to me.

‘They are the people who are working with the cyclists across the city.

‘They are the experts in this field and it’s important we take into consideration their specific requirements.

‘We can’t always do everything asked of us, but I am keen to improve things.’

The forum hopes to reply by the middle of October, and is calling on members to help produce a strategy.

Cyclists are more vulnerable near junctions

OFFICIAL figures show cyclists in Portsmouth are more likely to be hit near junctions.

Figures from Hampshire Constabulary show that from a five-year period – 2009 to 2013 – 683 accidents were at junctions and roundabouts.

The police said that this accounted for 78 per cent of cycle collisions in Portsmouth.

TJ Transport said that the most-likely cause of these accidents were by vehicles turning left into the path of a cycle going ahead on their inside that the driver hadn’t seen.