Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth cycle crash: Calls for safety improvements

Cycle protests
Image caption Cycling campaigners gathered in Guildhall Square

Scores of cyclists have gathered in Portsmouth to call for improvements to the city's cycle network following the death of a rider earlier this month.

Tim Atkins, 48, from Southsea, died in a crash involving another bike and a van in Eastern Road on 2 June.

Campaigners said they had been highlighting dangers on the city's network for almost 10 years.

Portsmouth City Council said it would assess Eastern Road's cycle path.

More than 100 cyclists gathered in Portsmouth's Guildhall Square to pay tribute to Mr Atkins and highlight the condition of cycle paths in the city.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Tim Atkins was described as a "devoted father, son, brother and uncle"

Mr Atkins died when he ended up on the road after a collision with another cyclist on the cycle path.

His family had described him as having a "big heart".

The second male cyclist involved in the crash suffered minor injuries and the man driving the van was uninjured.

Department for Transport figures show Portsmouth has one of the highest rates for deaths or injuries among cyclists outside London.

In 2015, the casualty rate was 888 people per million in the city, compared with 798 in York and 715 in Bournemouth.

Ian Saunders of Portsmouth Cycle Forum said the stretch of road had been cited as dangerous as early as 2009.

"Parts of the path are too narrow for two cyclists to pass - when you put pedestrians into the mix it becomes more of an issue.

"Portsmouth has one of the worst accident stats for cyclists in the country. It's all very well encouraging people to come out on their bikes but if they don't feel safe, they aren't actually going to do it."

Simon Bosher, Portsmouth City Council's cabinet member for transport, said the findings of the police investigation would be used to assess what improvements were needed.

"We already have plans to invest £500,000 in making improvements along the Eastern Road for all road users this financial year.

"We have previously met with the cycle forum and other groups to discuss our proposals for this route."

Council leader Donna Jones also called on the city's two MPs to help secure more money from the Department for Transport.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said she wants the city to be used to pilot cycle infrastructure schemes.

"If it can work here, it can work anywhere. I love we're an island city but it does come with its problems - we do need investment in lots of schemes to try and alleviate the safety issues and also the congestion and parking issues we've got here," she added.

Image caption The crash happened at the junction of Eastern Road and Burfields Road

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