Council ‘shows grievous lack of care’ to cyclists

Cyclists on the A6
Cyclists on the A6
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Members of a Lancaster cycling campaign group say they are “at their wits end” with the county council about the safety record of the A6 - Britain’s most dangerous road for cyclists and pedestrians.

Now cycling campaign group Dynamo has launched a scathing attack on Lancashire County Council, claiming it has shown a “grievous lack of care” to protect cyclists and promote sustainability.

Paul Stubbins, from Dynamo, said: “The highest risk areas for cyclists are junctions and parked cars and the changes that have been shown to make the greatest difference are infrastructural. All too often, debate on reducing accidents focuses on cyclists wearing helmets, or high-vis, and completely misses the key issue of how our roads are designed to protect vulnerable road users such as cyclists.”

Police breakdown of the 201 accidents that involved a bike between 2009 and 2013 show that almost all accidents occur in slow moving traffic, the most common causes being cars pulling out of side junctions and failing to give precedence to cyclists and cars cutting in front of bikes when making left turns. Twelve accidents were caused by the opening of car doors in teh path of cyclists.

Paul said that a £5m government fund for improving safety on the A6 in Lancaster and Preston had done nothing to improve infrastructure, but Lancashire County Council said the fund was for a diverse package of measures to encourage cycling, walking and use of public transport, focused on increasing participation and improving facilities for people who already cycle, walk and use the bus on a regular basis.

Paul added: “The reasons given by council officers for not sorting out the A6 do not hold up to any scrutiny and show a grievous lack of care to protect cyclists and promote sustainability. Excuses given include that the A6 is not wide enough for cycle lanes, when in fact it is only very short sections for which that is the case, and even then it is by less than a metre.”

Dynamo has been trying to get cycle lanes for both sides of this stretch of the A6 for three years, but, Paul said “so far to no avail”.

Lancaster was a cycling demonstration town from between 2005 and 2011 and received substantial investment.

Vali Birang, head of sustainable transport and safety at Lancashire County Council, said:

“We will be consulting early next year on a highways and transport masterplan for Lancaster which will provide the basis for prioritising major improvements to our transport infrastructure in the coming decades, including strategic cycling and walking networks.”