Brad Wiggins’ crash sparks debate

ndet 23-10-12 mc 41'Jack Barker aged 12 with his bike after he has campaigned for cycle lanes near his home after he has been involved in two hit and run incidents with drivers.
ndet 23-10-12 mc 41'Jack Barker aged 12 with his bike after he has campaigned for cycle lanes near his home after he has been involved in two hit and run incidents with drivers.

CAMPAIGNERS are appealing for better road safety measures for cyclists after Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins’ crash helped highlight on-going dangers for bike riders.

School boy Jack Barker, 12, and his mum Andrea, of Bolsover, and East Midlands Sustrans campaign members are calling for more cycle lanes and safety structures to reduce cycle crash figures as bike riders enter their most vulnerable time of the year with poor weather and reduced light.

Mother-of-three Mrs Barker, of Mill Lane, said: “Bradley Wiggins’ accident proves that even the most skilled cyclists are at risk. There should be a big Government or council initiative to improve safety and increase awareness among motorists.

“Drivers need to be made more aware of how vulnerable cyclists are especially in these darker months and during rush-hour times because statistics show cycling accidents happen mainly between 7am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm.”

Jack and Andrea are currently appealing to Derbyshire County Council for more cycle lanes around Bolsover at a time when school bus services have been reduced and after Jack was involved in two collisions with cars at the junction of Mill Lane and Limekiln Fields Road and at Oxcroft Lane.

They want to see more Government funding to help Derbyshire County Council, more cycle education through schools, better street lighting and new laws to make it compulsory for cyclists to wear helmets as well as use bright lights.

Andrea added: “There were over 19,000 cyclists hurt last year and a quarter of these were children and that’s too big a number to be ignored.

“Jack has had two accidents and I don’t want that to become a case of three strikes and you’re out with a police officer knocking at my door to tell me he’s been killed.”

Olympic gold time trial champion Bradley Wiggins, from Chapel-en-le-Frith, suffered bruising after he was involved in a collision with a vehicle near a petrol station near Wigan this month.

GB cycling coach Shane Sutton was also involved in a bike crash the following day in a suburb of Manchester.

Department for Transport statistics also revealed there has been an increase in the combined number of accidents involving injuries and deaths to 19,215 last year with 107 cyclists killed on British roads in 2011.

The Times newspaper which is running a cycle safety campaign has run a poll stating there have been 104 deaths in Britain so far this year.

Derbyshire County Council which is examining Andrea and Jack’s request for cycle lanes is also working with Chesterfield Borough Council to roll out a cycle network with safety lanes and dedicated cycle-only routes.

East Midlands Sustrans member Alastair Meikle, of Chesterfield, said problems can occur because motorists have not ridden bicycles and find it difficult to gauge speeds and he feels driver awareness could help.

He said: “There are more cyclists these days and the introduction of more off-road routes to avoid difficult road junctions is another way forward.”

Despite concerns for cyclists, The Institute of Motorists claims 57per cent of bike riders have jumped red lights at least once according to an online poll of 1,600 people this year and an Association of British Drivers spokesman said safety depends on all road users showing respect and responsibility.

Regional supervisor Dave Clasby, of East Midlands Sustrans, argued cycle lanes reinforce that cyclists are legitimate road users but agreed it is unacceptable for cyclists to ride without lights or to pose dangers to pedestrians by riding quickly on pavements.

Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond said the Government encourages safety with its THINK! Cyclist campaign, has invested £30m to tackle dangerous junctions and is providing over £1bn to councils to cope with transport challenges.