Campaigners hope transport survey will help Portsmouth become ‘cycling city of the UK’

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CAMPAIGNERS hope a study raising awareness of cyclists’ issues will improve safety on Portsmouth’s roads.

Road experts have been finding out from cyclists where they have come close to being involved in accidents, and want to use their experiences to lobby for more cycle-friendly routes.

Dr Rachel Aldred, senior lecturer in transport at the University of Westminster, will talk more about The Near Miss Project at a meeting of Portsmouth Cycle Forum on Thursday, November 12.

Forum officials hope the work will contribute to their plan to make Portsmouth the ‘cycling city’ of the UK.

John Holland, vice-chairman of Portsmouth Cycle Forum, said: ‘I suspect many of the people who make decisions about transport in the UK don’t ride bikes, and they are not aware of the problems.

‘There are a lot of people when we ask them why they don’t ride a bike who say that it’s too dangerous.

‘So we hope that by canvassing the people who do ride a bike, they can provide an insight into why those who don’t, may not be informed correctly.’

Mr Holland added: ‘We want to use this study to get more money spent on cycling in the city.

‘We realise the city hasn’t got any money, so a lot of this will have to come from other areas, like central government, or perhaps the EU and other funding sources.

‘We are trying to make the case that we need a bigger slice of the pie spent on cycling and sustainable transport.’

Cyclists from the Portsmouth area and elsewhere were encouraged to document their experiences on the road last Wednesday.

The results, which form part of the project, have yet to be published.

In a newsletter to members, chairman Jon Spencer said: ‘We’re looking forward to learning more about the project, making links with a prominent academic in this field, and seeing how the lessons learned can support the vision of ‘A City to Share’ and see Portsmouth become the pre-eminent cycling city of the UK.’

The forum meeting, which is open to all the public, takes place at the John Pounds Centre, in Queen Street, Portsea, Portsmouth, between 7pm and 9pm.