York & North Yorkshire

Richmondshire bike casualties rise since Grand Depart

Tour de France in Reeth Image copyright John Giles/PA Wire
Image caption The Tour de France's Grand Depart visited Richmondshire on 5 July 2014

An investigation has been launched into how to stem an upsurge in cycling casualties on roads made famous by the Tour de France's visit to Yorkshire.

A report revealed cyclists killed or seriously injured went up nearly 90% in Richmondshire in 2016 compared to the average for the previous four years.

A North Yorkshire County Council meeting heard it was likely to be linked to a recent cycling resurgence.

The authority is examining police accident reports to identify hotspots.

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The annual road casualty report revealed there had been a fall in incidents for every other category of road user in the district.

It said: "This year's total of 11 cyclists killed or seriously injured in Richmondshire is the joint highest for the county since records began."

Richard Marr, highways manager for the area, told Wednesday's committee meeting: "[The figure] has been rising every year since 2012.

"There is work going on to see if there is anything different we can do from a highways authority perspective to deal with that."

Image copyright Welcome to Yorkshire
Image caption Crowds at the roadside for the three English stages of the 2014 Tour de France totalled 4.8m

Since Yorkshire hosted the Tour de France's Grand Depart in 2014, cycling groups have reported memberships growing year on year and in 2016, the number had swollen to 11,914.

Department for Transport records for North Yorkshire show in 2005 there were 34 cyclists killed or seriously injured on the county's roads.

In the three years before the Grand Depart, the number had risen to 186 and in the three years after to 246.

Mr Marr said cyclists were drawn to areas such as Richmondshire due to its scenery and quiet roads, with the authority trying to learn where there could be cycling safety issues.

"If there were a lot of accidents on a bend, we might look at whether a surface is too slippery," he added.

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