The success of British cyclists has led to a cycling boom but also a rise in accidents.
Richmond’s cyclists are hoping greater safety measures can be brought into the town following an increase in bicycle accidents.
The success of British cyclists and the huge popularity of the Boris Bike scheme has led to a cycling boom in the capital but also a rise in accidents – 12 cyclists have been killed on London’s roads this year.
Ben Taylor, manager of independent bicycle store Richmond Cycles, said Richmond’s narrow roads means improving riders’ safety in the town is difficult.
“A lot of improvements made for cyclists have been token gestures with many cycling lanes being placed around roads that have little room for cars already.
“So, in a way, putting in cycle lanes is actually more dangerous – someone starting out cycling and then riding in our cycling lanes is going to think that is their space, but with cars turning into side streets there could be accidents.”
Mr Taylor has an alternative view on improving riders’ safety, with the issue gaining increased coverage following the accidents to Bradley Wiggins and Team GB cycling coach Shane Sutton.
“I think cyclists should have a licence, number plates so they can be seen going through red lights, and they should pay a small tax to cover cycle lanes – and helmets should be made compulsory.”
Cyclists in Richmond agree with the importance of riders’ safety alongside the benefit of a ‘super-corridor’ in the capital.
News of Mayor Boris Johnson’s plan for an east-to-west cycle corridor emerged yesterday, in which road safety and accessibility for riders across London will be enhanced.
Cyclist Doug McIntosh said: “I actually had a bad accident at Waterloo three or four years ago at a busy junction when I was hit by a bus so I think the corridor is a very good idea and will improve safety.
“It would also be a brilliant idea to make wearing a helmet mandatory – I always wear one. That saved my life when I was hit.”
Bike rider Alison Pearce agrees with the proposed corridor and said Richmond’s high traffic means she often prefers riding around Richmond Park rather than in the town centre.
“Going through the centre of Richmond is a nightmare and there are not many places to park your bike.
“I wouldn’t cycle down to the end of the high street, it’s too busy and the roads are too narrow.”
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