A BRUTAL season for cyclist has raised concerns all over the UK for the safety of bike riders on roads and in busy city centres like Chester.
The number of cyclists travelling on roads has risen 1.2 percent in the last year which has considerably increased serious accidents involving cyclists and other vehicles.
Chester West and Chester Council (CWAC) have outlined a new cycling strategy to make it easier, safer, cheaper and more convenient for people of Chester to get around the city. They aim to have the best cycling environment in the Country.
Several aims are to be applied for the strategy to succeed. CWAC have plans to build new and improve infrastructure to develop facilities for cyclists, create marketing campaigns to raise awareness and to encourage cycle friendly and provide training to improve cycle safety.
Although there’s been a decrease of accidents with other modes of transport, statistics from the department of transport show the number of cyclist killed in an accident has increased 10 percent in the last year from 107 to 118 people and the number of injured cyclist has increased 4 percent from 3,085 to 3,222 people.
Focusing of Chester city centre alone, statistics show 28 collisions involving pedal bicycles in the last three years, only four of these being serious incidents. Majority of the events happened between 8.00pm and 9.00pm suggesting that cyclists may not have the correct lighting on their bikes for night riding.
Andy Paisey, President at the University of Chester Cycling Club is pleased with the significant increase in numbers at the society, however states: “People aren’t addressing the circumstances involved with taking up a new sport which may not be necessarily very road safe as riders are causing more accidents.
“I’ve been cycling since I was a child and taking road safety tests, however if people have gone several years without cycling or not taken up road cycling before, they may be unsafe to drive on roads.
“Taking courses in road safety, knowing one’s own limits and making sure your bike it road safe will help cyclists to stay safe.
“In my opinion it’s more often the cyclist’s fault than the vehicles.”
“Although roads are relatively nice in Chester, there are areas that need to be re- surfaced, cut ups in the road make it very unpleasant at times.”
PC David Murray, head of transport at Cheshire Constabulary thinks a combination of things will help cyclist avoid collisions, he said: “Obviously the circumstances of each collision varies hugely. I believe more and more people are taking to the roads on cycles and they are perfectly entitled to use the roads and have every right to expect that usage to be safe and incident free.
“Cycles have many advantages over vehicular traffic but to help stay safe, observing road traffic law, and junction and lane discipline would definitely help as cyclists don’t have the protection of a metal cage surrounding them like drivers do, so any incident that leads to them falling off can lead to significant injury.
“Being aware of the traffic around you is essential. I often see cyclists of all ages riding on the road and can see that they have earphones in, presumably listening to music.
“I always encourage cyclists to wear a well-fitting protective helmet and high visibility clothing. This will undoubtedly help motorists see them, especially throughout the darker winter months when poorer weather conditions or the low sun can affect visibility.”
“It is also essential and a legal requirement that they have well maintained and effective lighting, not only to help them see the road ahead, but also to ensure that other motorists can see them well in advance.”
Cheshire Police encourage cyclists to be legal and safe and have issued some safety requirements to follow. To view please visit http://www.cheshire.police.uk/advice–information/bicycle-safety-and-security.aspx
Chester Intelligencer reporter, Lisa Jones