Rising number of cyclists blamed for higher than expected deaths and injuries on Cambridgeshire roads

AN increase in cyclists on Cambridgeshire’s roads has been blamed for road deaths and serious injuries not falling as fast as expected.

Cambridgeshire County Council says 337 people were killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads last year- nine more than they had expected.

“The target was missed largely due to an increase in pedal cyclist casualties,” says Matt Bowmer, finance chief and section 151 officer for the county council.

“This is related to an increase in cycling across the county- in 2011 the number of cycle trips in Cambridgeshire increased by 8 per cent, with growth of 14 per cent in Cambridge particularly.”

He said as a result of the high number of cycle accidents in Cambridge the council’s road safety team would make improvements in engineering, education and training as key objective for the coming year.

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From September, he said, Bikeability cycle training for school pupils will be provided free of charge. Funding from the county council and a Department of Transport grant will provide 4,000 training places rising to 4,500 next year and 5,000 the year after, subject to continuing funding.

Mr Bowmer insisted the county council was working “on re-invigorating the road safety partnership and have a significant programme of road safety measures planned in response to particular problems.”

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He said the county council had moved away from delivering major safety schemes and instead were focused on smaller schemes “that give significant local safety benefits and targeting campaigns at particularly vulnerable groups.”

He added: “This approach allows us to respond where possible to specific issues. We will continue to monitor the accident statistics and will use those to shape our capital programme on an annual basis.”

In 2007 418 were killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads, dropping to 372 in 208, rising to 384 in 2009 and falling to 339 in 2010.

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