Poll: Are cyclists safe on Norwich’s roads?

Following the second death of a cyclist in Norwich this year, campaigners are calling for more awareness of cycle safety to be raised among drivers and cyclists.

A cyclist in his 40s died in a two-car crash on the North Walsham Road, on the northern outskirts of Norwich, last Tuesday night.

It follows 21-year-old Sam Crisp, suffering fatal head injuries after his bike was in a crash with a car in Sprowston Road, on Thursday, May 3.

The two deaths come as official statistics for the past year, from May to April, reveal a steady increase in the number of cyclists who have been killed or seriously injured (KSIs) on Norwich's roads in the past three years.

The figures are tempered by the fact that the number of cyclists continues to rise year-on-year in Norwich, as the city's cycle network continues to expand and improve.

However, there were 10 KSIs in Norwich in 2011-12, up from nine for the same period in 2010-11 and seven in 2009-10.

There has also been a steady increase in slight injuries over the same timescale, rising to 81 for 2011-12, up from 76 in 2010-11 and 74 in 2009-10.

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Alec Byrne, pictured, chairman of the Casualty Reduction Partnership, which includes Norfolk County Council, police, ambulance and health services, said: 'These recent deaths are tragic and our first thoughts are always with family and friends. Over recent months we have seen fewer injuries to people in cars, but this has been offset by a rise in casualties among vulnerable road users such as cyclists.

'This may well reflect the number of people changing their modes of travel. It's important not to overstate this, because the numbers are still small and the majority of people killed or seriously injured are car occupants travelling on rural A and B roads.'

Mr Byrne said that key measures needed to halt the trend include education and training, particularly of young and old drivers and cyclists, with a new Norfolk-wide road safety campaign set to be launched later in the year.

Jeff Jordan, 67, of St Clements Hill in Norwich, was keen to stress that the rise in statistics went hand-in-hand with the rise in the number of cyclists in the city.

Mr Jordan is one of the members of the Norwich Cycling Campaign, which battles for cyclist rights and the improvement of the city's cycle network.

He said: 'These are very small numbers to establish a trend from and a rise of one (KSI) in a year is not a very big rise, but of course every death is absolutely tragic.

'This latest death is really typical of the most dangerous places for cyclists to ride, because it is a main road, it is fast and it is not a very wide road.

'One of the roads we are about to press the council for a cycle route for is a similar road, between the Cromer Road roundabout and the airport park and ride site.'

Mr Jordan added that Thorpe Road, east of the city, was also a notoriously difficult road for cyclists to safely navigate, with the junction with Harvey Lane being particularly dangerous.

The figures are released ahead of the national Bike Week campaign starting on Saturday, running through until Sunday, June 24.

And the statistics for Norwich tally with a similar steady rise for the whole of Norfolk, which show there were 34 KSIs in the county in 2011-12, up from 27 the year before, which was actually a drop from 32 in 2009-10.

The slight injuries rose to 209 in 2011-12, from 181 in 2010-11, which was also a drop from 188 in 2009-10.

- Do you think Norwich is a safe cycling city? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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