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Cheltenham drivers be warned: Cyclists are on the increase

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: October 03, 2012

The bicycle involved in an accident on Sandford Mill Road

The bicycle involved in an accident on Sandford Mill Road

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ROOKIE cyclists could be in danger of being knocked down by unweary motorists.

Drivers need to start getting used to the growing number of bike riders across the area, cyclists have warned.

It comes just days after a collision in Cheltenham saw a cyclist being airlifted to hospital with potentially life changing injuries.

The 31-year-old, who lives in the town, crashed with a lorry in Sandford Mill Road.

Paramedics airlifted him to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol where he is understood that he is being treated for leg and pelvis injuries.

It was the fourth serious accident involving a bicycle rider since the end of May.

In August, a 53-year-old from Tewkesbury was knocked from his bike in Aston Cross.

And 23-year-old Alexander Ward, who had been living in Cheltenham for nearly a year while working at GE Aviation at Bishop's Cleeve, died following a collision with a horse box near Winchcombe in July.

A 36-year-old was involved in a collision in Elmstone Hardwicke at the end of May.

John Rowland, manager of Cheltenham Cycles in Winchcombe Street, said the Wiggins effect – which has seen dozens of young cyclists try to emulate their hero Bradley Wiggins – has led to a growing number of inexperienced cyclists on the roads.

"Cycling is growing so fast at the moment and motorists have not caught up with the number of them on the road," he said.

"It is something which drivers are going to have to learn to get used to.

"Cycling has taken off in such a big way in the last two months and I think even more people are going to start doing it.

"The problem is a combination of new cyclists who are not road aware and motorists who are in their own little cocoon or who are just in a rush to get past."

But John warned it was not just the drivers who were causing problems, with many bike riders being just as dangerous.

"Some cyclists do not help themselves with they way they ride," he added.

"It drives all of us in the shop mad when we see cyclists do things like riding through a red traffic light.

"It just means drivers tar us all with the same brush."

John Mallows, chairman of Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Cycle Campaign, said the latest accident showed there needed to be a greater awareness of people on the road.

"It goes to show how careful we need to be as road users, he added."

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  • saw442000  |  October 05 2012, 3:48PM

    There is no such thing as road tax! You pay VED if you own a car and council tax. As around 80% of cyclists pay the former and presumably 100% pay the latter then they have as much right to use the roads as anyone, possibly more given no emissions other than natural bodily functions! British Cycling / CTC members have third party insurance. The recommended space to give cyclists when overtaking is 1.5m - so a safe overtake staying within your lane is not possible on most roads. Cycle paths are just being seen as a way of getting cyclists off the road rather than safe, efficient routes through urban areas. This morning on my commute by bicycle I was held up by queues of stationary traffic - why can't the cars get off the road instead? School traffic is one of the biggest problems - the difference in the school holidays to rush hour traffic is unbelievable.

  • gallopingbear  |  October 05 2012, 3:33PM

    Cyclists do not need a road tax as they do not need a road to operate. They could be issued a small cycle lane tax, but then a 'green transport' subsidy would cancel that out, and how would you enforce it? Set up a new BVLA? Nonsense.

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  • chalkey67  |  October 05 2012, 3:22PM

    Perhaps everyone busy whinging on here ought to read this. http://tinyurl.com/9yjxnvz Read both sides of the story. Consider what you are asked to do or be aware of. Take a long hard look at yourself and think what you could do better. Being both a driver and cyclist this is some of the best advice I have seen to make everyone aware, even if it is from a government department.

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  • CheltMFs  |  October 05 2012, 2:48PM

    As soon as cyclists are insured and paying a negligable road tax charge then and only then WILL they be treated with common respect out on the roads. That's a statement coming from an avid cyclist!

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  • Ms_Superstar  |  October 05 2012, 1:37PM

    @AndyPrestbury:: "There is a gap of several hundred yards between the two. It just needs a simple crossing to get across the road and then the pavement outside the leisure centre a combined footpath/cyclepath. Instead cyclists are forced to use a road that cars are probably unaware is linking two cycle routes together." What's wrong with getting off and walking a couple of hundred yards? Are you permanently welded to your bicycle? It's not a tram you know, and neither are you.

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  • gallopingbear  |  October 05 2012, 11:24AM

    I'm sick of seeing articles on cycling in the echo which dont go anywhere. It seems obvious to me that there are three strands which need addressing: 1. Improvement of, and investment in, cycle lanes. 2. Better policing and penalties enforced where cyclists are caught on pavements. 3. Better education and tolerance between drivers and cyclists. Surely then, more people would cycle to work, cutting down on pollution and fuel costs; there would be less accidents involving bikes/ vehicles and bikes/ pedestrians demanding attention in hospitals and traffic would be lighter, meaning less money would have to be spent looking at traffic flow problems. Of course I realise the changes would not be huge, and would not save any vast amount of money for the council, and I realise there is little money. But so many people feel so strongly about this issue, and people are getting hurt and even killed. Do we need to petition? County Council -sort it out!!

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  • MrSamwise  |  October 05 2012, 11:19AM

    by SandraPeeFriday, October 05 2012, 9:05AM "Driving home last night just after 10 pm out of Gloucester along London Road , I was approaching Wotton Pitch traffic lights at the junction of Denmark Road when three young teenagers on chopper style bikes came out of nowhere and cut across the road in front of me .......no lights, dark clothing ! No road sense whatsoever . It's bad enough when cyclists do this during the daytime, but, at night ! Sheer stupidity. These incidents are all too common i'm afraid ." That has nothing to do with cycling, or people getting around in day to day life, your complaint is no different from youths loitering in the park, running around blocks of flats, driving too fast round the ring road, running out in the road wearing black and any other form of anti-social behaviour. Using a group of delinquents to criticise cycling is like saying all dogs are a problem due to Staffie attacks, or that no one should drink due to drunken youths, or that no one can walk around in the evening due to anti-social behaviour etc. Regardless of any laws, policy, cycle paths etc anti-social youths will act anti-socially and it has nothing to do with 'cycling'. Not that 'cycling/cyclists' is an alien thing to be considered any differently from someone walking, driving, taking the bus or train to work or the shops. I drive, yet hate bad drivers, I cycle and hate bad cyclists, I take the train and hate anti-social passengers - pitching one mode of transport against another is ignorant and pointless. The real effort should be to put an end to bad behaviour by people who travel by all sorts of different means. I mean, for every story of a girl going through lights or over a pavement, there will be just as many stories of people going 35 on a 30 limit road, or a vehicle in a cycle lane or bust stop, or not stopping at a zebra, or speaking on a mobile phone whilst driving. If you walk around town see how many minor offences are being committed by cars and cycles and you'll soon see the problem is not specific to anyone group - the only difference is doing something illegal in a car is more dangerous to other people as it's tonnes of fast moving metal, whereas on a bike the only danger is to the person themselves. For example talking on a phone when driving endangers every road user in the vicinity. A normal person on a bike only crosses a red light when they deem it the most safe option (due to the nature of cars queuing at lights it can be better to get ahead) - and the only risk is to themselves. I do wonder how many people who complain about one sort of illegal road use regularly do others? I've been overtaken by cars on my bike when I've been doing 30mph on a 30mph limit road - i.e they intentionally sped. And because they were deliberate law breakers and thus selfish and ignorant they'd likely still have been annoyed at a bike being on the road regardless of my actions. Maybe everyone on hear should list whether or not they ever break the highway code or the law?

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  • SandraPee  |  October 05 2012, 9:05AM

    Driving home last night just after 10 pm out of Gloucester along London Road , I was approaching Wotton Pitch traffic lights at the junction of Denmark Road when three young teenagers on chopper style bikes came out of nowhere and cut across the road in front of me .......no lights, dark clothing ! No road sense whatsoever . It's bad enough when cyclists do this during the daytime, but, at night ! Sheer stupidity. These incidents are all too common i'm afraid .

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  • AndyPrestbury  |  October 04 2012, 9:49PM

    dontyaknow I just wish people could get even some of the existing cycle routes designed properly. A good case of a dangerous section is when you leave the Honeybourne line at the PoW stadium, and want to get across to the cycle path that runs across the park. There is a gap of several hundred yards between the two. It just needs a simple crossing to get across the road and then the pavement outside the leisure centre a combined footpath/cyclepath. Instead cyclists are forced to use a road that cars are probably unaware is linking two cycle routes together. On this section I would much rather be on the path, but not an option. Plus there really should be a pedestrian crossing for those using the leisure centre and stadium.

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  • dontyaknow  |  October 04 2012, 8:14PM

    Agree 100% Peter_Cleeve, in an ideal world there would be a seperate cycle lane on the length of that road, but I imagine it would be costly to implement. The National Cycle Route 41 is intended to go through Cheltenham to Evesham via Bishops Cleeve, however their proposed Route out of Cheltenham seems to follow the Honeybourne line, which is in use and includes a tunnel or 2 so I'm not sure how practical that would be either. Have a look at sustrans.org.uk for the existing routes and proposed routes. I really like the idea of a National Cycle network that is safe for all to use, but I am not sure on all of the proposed routes . For example the Route 45 between Gloucester and Tewkesbury goes by way of Maisemore, Ashleworth and Chacely and is intended to cross the severn at Lower Lode, but are their any proposals or intentions for a bridge there? If so, then great, as this route is preferable to the A38 as although it is slightly longer it is less polluted, safer, flatter, more scenic and offers a safe passage of entry/exit into Gloucester as the Northern Bypass and roundabouts are bypassed. I hope a bridge becomes a reality, but I am not sure who would fund it or where the money would come from.

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