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Councillors and campaigners unite in calling for 20mph speed limits and segregated cycle lanes after three cyclists die in a week in Norfolk

"There must be serious action," said a Green councillor, however a senior Conservative defended the council's road safety strategy...

Councillors and campaigners are calling for measures like segregated cycle lanes and 20mph speed limits in Norfolk, where three cyclists have lost their lives in the space of a week, while three more have died this year, however, a senior Conservative has defended his council's strategy on road safety.

On Sunday evening, two cyclists were killed while cycling on the A143 Bungay Road, a rural A-road in Billingford. Both men in their 30s who were using e-bikes, died at the scene as a result of their injuries after the fatal collision involving the driver of a red Mini Cooper.

Earlier this week, Jane Blackwell, an "inspiring" swimming coach in her 60s also lost her life after a collision with a car driver on Newmarket Road.

In February, 38-year-old Ben Steward died after a collision with a white VW Golf on the northbound carriageway of the city's outer ring road near Earlham Cemetery.

In addition Dominique Hechanova was killed in Watton back in March and Alfie Brown, a 13-year-old boy, was killed near North Walsham in July, bringing the total number of cyclists who lost their lives this year alone to six.

However, as we reported this week, Councillor Graham Plant has defended the council's strategy of providing safety for cyclists, saying that they were "constantly working to improve highway safety".

"We're sorry to hear about the death of anyone on our roads," he added.

However, the recent events has spurred stronger and more urgent calls for action by councillors and campaigners, in what some are hoping could spark measures like curbing of dangerous driving and provision for safer cycling infrastructure, as seen in West Midlands after similar tragic events.

> Campaigners call for an “end to road violence” after three cyclists, including a 12-year-old boy “killed by motorists” in three weeks in Birmingham

Liam Calvert, Green councillor for Wensum ward, said: "Another death on our streets is a tragedy that will ripple across communities for years to come. So we are calling for three major areas of change.

"Firstly, we need high-quality routes physically separating those on bikes from the dangers posed by vehicles. Secondly, we want to see urban street limits of 20mph, especially where full segregation has not yet been achieved, with a significantly increased enforcement of these limits.

"Finally, a reduction in traffic on smaller residential streets where people live, so that they can leave their homes without the safety concerns that high traffic volumes create.

"People shouldn't have to fear for the safety of loved ones as they make everyday trips across the city."

> "We're sorry to hear about the death of anyone on our roads": Conservative councillor defends council's road safety strategy after three cyclists' deaths in a week

Cyclist crossing Dereham Road, Norwich (photo: Derek Williams)

Cyclist crossing Dereham Road, Norwich (photo: Derek Williams)

Green Party councillor for Nelson ward, Paul Neale, added: "Each life-changing injury and life lost will have had a huge impact on individuals, families and communities.

"There must be serious action taken to prevent more lives being lost on our streets.

"This means talking to and working with communities, organisations and campaigners, at an early stage to ensure all existing and new travel schemes are safe, with rules properly enforced."

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Peter Silburn, who chairs the Norwich Cycling Campaign, told road.cc: "We know what we need to do to make people safe. Introducing 20mph speed limits alongside measures to reduce the amount of traffic on residential streets is essential to making our streets safer for people walking and cycling.

"On main roads with higher traffic speeds we need cycle lanes with physical protection from fast moving traffic such as kerbs or bollards to make people on bikes safe."

He also wrote on the campaign's website that in five of the six deaths the driver was arrested for dangerous or careless driving, one of which was a hit-and-run. "Most drivers are considerate to other road users but there’s a tiny minority who don’t seem to care, who drive aggressively and dangerously, seemingly with impunity," he said.

Silburn added: "Cycling itself is not a dangerous activity: the source of the danger is cars. People on bikes need to be protected from this danger.

"Norfolk County Council are building some cycle infrastructure but it’s not enough, it often doesn’t meet the national design guidance and it’s not happening fast enough. Much more needs to be done to protect people who choose to get about by bike."

When asked what steps can be taken to ensure that the recent events result in actual action, Silburn told road.cc: "A Walking and Cycling Commissioner for Norfolk - similar to the role in the West Midlands - would be a very welcome development, and would ensure that the funding for active travel in the county was spent effectively by building high quality, direct and connected infrastructure."

> “The street was functioning as it should”: People reclaim street meant for pedestrians and cyclists from drivers

Not just councillors and campaigners, locals have also started identifying the dangers posed by reckless driving at high-speeds and are demanding safety actions.

While the circumstances around the crash which cost the lives of two cyclists on Sunday occurred remain unclear, but the landlady of a pub on the road, near the scene of the crash, said that they see "total carnage" every day and suggested the 50mph speed limit needs reviewing.

"It is just absolutely shocking, I am so upset for the families who are grieving in this moment, it is so terribly awful," Julie Howlett said.

"We sit out here most evenings and the road is just total carnage, it is lethal, and the speed limit needs reviewing or a camera needs to go up to make change because cars fly by at stupid speeds all hours of the day.

"I have the deepest sympathies for the families, and to think it could have been my daughter hit brings a tear to my eye."

> Locals demand safety action after two cyclists killed in collision on "treacherous" road

Another local trader, John Styles, who runs a food truck that serves customers in a layby opposite the crash site said he was not surprised by Sunday's incident.

"Though it is awful, it to me is hardly surprising this has happened," he said. "Cars drive along this road like the clappers, and as a fellow cyclist myself, visibility is poor along this road in places, and you certainly feel vulnerable."

A third resident described the road as "treacherous" and called for "action" to be taken to "slow cars down along this stretch of road".

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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10 comments

Avatar
Muddy Ford | 5 months ago
2 likes

Meanwhile Sunak is on the side of the 'underdog' motorists in a war that only motorists think is a war. Only one side of this war is having its members maimed, mutilated and killed every single day of the week. But good on you Sunak, you'll go down in history as a 'hero' of this 'war'. 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Muddy Ford | 5 months ago
1 like
Muddy Ford wrote:

Meanwhile Sunak is on the side of the 'underdog' motorists in a war that only motorists think is a war. Only one side of this war is having its members maimed, mutilated and killed every single day of the week. But good on you Sunak, you'll go down in history as a 'hero' of this 'war'. 

I don't know, there's a lot of friendly fire with motorists crashing into other motorists and sizable collateral damage from the air pollution.

Avatar
eburtthebike | 5 months ago
5 likes

"However, as we reported this week, Councillor Graham Plant has defended the council's strategy of providing safety for cyclists, saying that they were "constantly working to improve highway safety"."

Here's the bit the tory didn't say out loud:

"As long as it doesn't inconvenience one single motorist, ever."

Don't forget that the tories are the party of the motorist and their right to terrify you, injure you and kill you.

Avatar
Lozcan replied to eburtthebike | 5 months ago
0 likes

Plant is a Conservative Unionist National Traitor.

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VIPcyclist replied to eburtthebike | 5 months ago
2 likes

Is that the Sunak Tory Party or the Starmer Tory Party?

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to VIPcyclist | 5 months ago
2 likes
VIPcyclist wrote:

Is that the Sunak Tory Party or the Starmer Tory Party?

I can't see any difference, so it's both.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to VIPcyclist | 5 months ago
0 likes
VIPcyclist wrote:

Is that the Sunak Tory Party or the Starmer Tory Party?

Tory or Tory-lite

Avatar
Ratfink | 5 months ago
5 likes

"we want to see urban street limits of 20mph, especially where full segregation has not yet been achieved"

There's a good way to play it,You can have your 30 mph back when we get our own roads.

Avatar
NOtotheEU replied to Ratfink | 5 months ago
0 likes
Ratfink wrote:

"we want to see urban street limits of 20mph, especially where full segregation has not yet been achieved"

There's a good way to play it, you can have your 30 mph back when we get our own roads.

A perfectly reasonable plan but I'd add when there hasn't been a single vulnerable road user death caused by a driver for at least 12 months. In other words, probably never.

EDIT; Read this online shortly after posting

Two people dead and third injured after being hit by car in Coventry

Man, 33, being questioned by police after car hits two pedestrians and a cyclist then crashes into a house

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/sep/03/people-dead-and-injured-...

Avatar
VIPcyclist replied to Ratfink | 5 months ago
0 likes

I agree. What's more an urban speed limit, with automatic limiting on new cars, is a must. New cars, SUV's and battery powered, are likely to weigh over two metric tonnes. Not many electric cars are under two tonnes. These super heavy weight cars, just like a super heavy boxer, pack a lot of punch and will more easily cause death and serious injury at higher speeds than a more modest car. I haven't seen the move to EV's as a reason given for a move to 20 mph but it should be one of them.

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