A Norwich MP who is herself a keen cyclist has urged road users to observe a ‘chain of respect’ following the deaths of two bike riders in the city in recent weeks.
Last Tuesday, an as yet unnamed male cyclist aged in his 40s was killed in an incident in which two cars were involved on the city’s North Walsham Road.
That followed the death last month of 21-year-old warehouse worker Sam Crisp from Sprowston from injuries received when he was struck by a white Vauxhall Astra van at a junction close to his home.
Norfolk Constabulary are appealing for witnesses in connection with both incidents.
Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North, wrote on her website after Tuesday’s fatality: “Although we do not yet know the full facts about the tragic accident in Norwich late last night, everyone’s thoughts are with the cyclist’s family and friends.
“Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians must all play their part in respecting other users on the City’s roads. I am urging cyclists to take extra care over their safety on the road. Please make sure you have the necessary safety equipment and seek out basic training if you are unsure of cycling on the roads.”
Ms Smith, who last month took part in the Norfolk 50 ride for the British Heart Foundation, added: “If we can encourage all road users to observe the ‘chain of respect’ I hope we will see fewer tragic accidents like we saw in the City this week. Norwich ought to be a safe, enjoyable place to cycle.”
The MPs comments come as figures are released showing that the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the city’s roads have risen in each of the past two years, from seven in 2009/10 to nine in 2010/11 and ten in the year ended 30 April 2012.
Similar to the situation in Cambridge as discussed in a story on road.cc earlier today, Norwich Cycling Campaign pointed out that the increase in cyclists casualties was in part a reflection of the fact that more people are cycling in the city.
Group spokesman Jeff Jordan told the Eastern Daily Press: “These are very small numbers to establish a trend from and a rise of one [cyclist killed or seriously injured] in a year is not a very big rise, but of course every death is absolutely tragic.
“This latest death is really typical of the most dangerous places for cyclists to ride, because it is a main road, it is fast and it is not a very wide road.
“One of the roads we are about to press the council for a cycle route for is a similar road, between the Cromer Road roundabout and the airport park and ride site.”
Alec Byrne, the Chairman of Norfolk's Casualty Reduction Partnership, which comprises Norfolk County Council as well as local emergency and health services, commented: “These recent deaths are tragic and our first thoughts are always with family and friends.
“Over recent months we have seen fewer injuries to people in cars, but this has been offset by a rise in casualties among vulnerable road users such as cyclists,” he continued.
“This may well reflect the number of people changing their modes of travel. It’s important not to overstate this, because the numbers are still small and the majority of people killed or seriously injured are car occupants travelling on rural A and B roads.”
Mr Byrne added that a road safety campaign would be launched across the county later on this year, with the education and training of younger and older drivers and cyclists alike a priority.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.