Manchester cyclists warn improvements could make roads less safe

Cyclists call to be included in discussions about road improvements in the city after previous work made some roads more dangerous for riders

Cyclists in Manchester are warning that the Government’s £214m investment in cycling could make it more dangerous to ride in the city unless the right people are consulted about proposed changes.

Ian Whittell, of Manchester Wheelers, said the active members of the cycling community need to be involved in the decision-making process to avoid a repeat of previous ‘upgrades’ which actually put cyclists at risk.

Mr Whittell told Mancunian Matters: “Manchester, like most British cities, has had numerous examples of so-called ‘cycling-friendly traffic measures’ that actually create more danger for cyclists than had previously been the case.

“Our hope is that instead authorities listen to the advice of active members of the cycling community in developing their ‘Strategic Road Network’.”

Manchester is one of eight cities who will benefit from £114m of Government money in a scheme announced by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg in November.

In his speech, Mr Clegg said he wants the UK to follow the examples of Denmark and the Netherlands in becoming ‘cycling nations’, claiming the rewards of the investment could save the NHS billions of pounds.

But Mr Whittell insists that while it is a positive sign that cycling infrastructure is to be improved, road safety education was also needed to ensure the city’s roads are safe for those on two wheels.

“In the past month, two of our members have been hospitalised after drivers exited stationary vehicles but failed to look and struck them with their car doors,” he continued.

“They were completely avoidable accidents. Those drivers didn’t look over their shoulders and thought about cyclists possibly being in their vicinity.

“There needs to be a drastic improvement in road safety education and awareness.

“This initiative, therefore, is welcome but only as part of an on-going drive to make Britain’s roads safer.”

Source: Mancunian Matters

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