Death of cyclist on A18 sparks debate for better bike safety
MEASURES to improve safety on the A18 – and other roads across North East Lincolnshire – will be looked into during a series of meetings in January, following the death of a cyclist.
As reported on www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk, the 64-year-old North Lincolnshire man, who has not been named, was killed following a collision with a red lorry on the notorious stretch of road between the junction with the A46 Laceby bypass and the Barnoldby-le-Beck turn off, on Saturday morning.
The lorry driver, a 48-year-old local man, emerged from the crash uninjured.
Although the circumstances of the accident are not yet known, the A18 has long been an accident black spot.
Over the past three years, there have been 20 collisions – ten of these at junctions – and, last year, TV show Britain's Killer Roads, claimed the ten-mile stretch of Barton Street – from Laceby roundabout to the A16 at Ludborough – was 25 times more dangerous than the average British motorway.
Cycle safety has also been hitting the national headlines in recent weeks, after Britain's first Tour De France winner and four-time Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins was injured after being knocked off his bike by a driver as he cycled past a petrol station.
And, in October, Humberside Police's casualty reduction officer Pc Barry Gardner launched the Cycle Bright campaign to try and reduce the ever increasing number of cyclists being injured on our roads, as reported.
Between January and August this year there were four serious accidents and 51 slight accidents compared to 198 slight injuries and 41 serious crashes between January 2009 and December 2011, the majority of which were at junctions.
As part of the campaign as well as putting up signs at accident blackspots, cyclists are being urged to pick up a free high-visibility jacket.
PC Gardner said: "There has been a large increase in the number of accidents both nationally and locally.
"We want motorists to look out for cyclists, give them a bit of space.
"The devastating effect of a collision can last a lifetime, not just for the cyclist, but their families."
His comments were echoed by Jamie Ward, who runs the Alp-Action Ettridge Cycling Club.
He said: "It's tragic to hear someone has been killed.
"In terms of cycling safety, I would say you should always wear bright clothing, a helmet and have lights on your bike all the time, so you can switch them on if it gets a bit dim.
"I would also say motorists need to give cyclists more space. I am sure they don't mean to, but they can pass very close to you.
"My dad, who is still a keen cyclist at the age of 70, was knocked off his bike on the A18 when a driver clipped his handlebars with his wing mirror as he overtook him."
Pc Gardner also said he would welcome a reduction in the speed limit on the A18, from 60mph to 50mph – which is one of the issues a special North East Lincolnshire Council select committee will be discussing in the new year.
The committee, made up of members from NELC's regeneration and housing scrutiny panel, will come together to discuss how the number of accidents on roads across the area can be reduced – and whether speed is a factor in doing so.
However, Councillor Philip Jackson (Con, Waltham) who also lives in Barnoldby-le-Beck, said believes on roads such as the A18, more needs to be done than simply reducing vehicles' speed.
He said: "I travel up and down the A18 most days, there are numerous blind spots and it is very difficult to overtake safely.
"It is not just about cutting speed limits here, as this is not always the cause of an accident. More needs to be done to help reduce the number of casualties.
"Whether this means the introduction of road signs or other alternative safety measures I do not know yet. They will be ideas to discuss during our meetings – the first will take place on Thursday, January 17.
"The public are invited to attend these meetings, as the committee will be directing questions to the police and other road safety experts who have been asked to attend.
"It is devastating to hear another life had been taken because of this dangerous road."
Cycle Bright high-visibility vests can be picked up from the Victoria Street police station in Grimsby while stocks last.
Anyone who witnessed the crash on Saturday morning, is urged to contact Grimsby Road Policing Unit on 101 quoting the log number 230.
Keep checking your Grimsby Telegraph for further updates.