Cyclists in Brighton and Hove are to blame for a third of the accidents they are involved in according to Sussex Police. Inspector Phil Clarke commented to The Argus last week that: “There is an increasing problem in the city with some cyclists riding irresponsibly and sometimes unlawfully.” Figures reveal that last year a total of 131 cyclists suffered injuries as result of collisions, 23 of those cyclists, sustaining serious injuries.
Improving facilities and extending routes for cyclists is high on the city Council’s agenda now; Brighton and Hove has recently become one of 11 new Cycling Towns and is set to receive funding of £1.6m between this year and 2010. Sussex Police, more keen to promote the safety of cyclists, have stressed the responsibility of cyclists riding more sensibly. Inspector Phil Clark said: “First, cyclists need to exercise more care and be responsible, and second, they are vulnerable to the actions of other road users.” He cited ignoring red lights, cycling on pavements, cycling without lights in the dark and failing to cycle in cycle lanes as the main offences committed by cyclists. Sussex Police have pledged to deal with a clampdown on rogue cyclists, warning: “Those who wish to ride carelessly or contravene legislation that applies to them, can expect to be dealt with robustly.”
In response to issues raised by Inspector Phil Clark Brighton and Hove District Cycling Group, Bricycles, have requested more detailed statistics of accidents involving cyclists from Sussex Police. Their feeling that there is a long way to go to improve the safety of cyclists in the City has led them to call for lower speed limits across Brighton and Hove and the surrounding rural area. Sussex student, Becky Robinson commented: “Quite a lot of students do cycle without helmets and lights, which can contribute to accidents.
As a cyclist you must be aware of yourself and the traffic around you and not rely on cars watching out for you. ” Readers of The Argus were keen to note that while cyclists might be responsible for accidents they were involved in last year, at least two thirds of safe cyclists were involved in accidents for which motorists or pedestrians were most likely to blame.