Norwich named one of UK's most dangerous cities for cyclists

Cyclist Helen Webster on her first charity cycle

Helen Webster loves cycling, but is still recovering from a serious accident earlier this year - Credit: Webster family

Cyclists are calling for more patience from drivers after data showed Norwich was one of the most dangerous cities in the UK to get around by bike.

According to Boyes Turner Claims, medical negligence solicitors, data sourced from CrashMap ranks Norwich 14th-worst in the country for pedal bike collisions, with 399 recorded accidents between 2016 and 2020.

London comes out on top, with 11,560 pedal bike collisions recorded across that time period, followed by Bristol with 1,301 and Hull with 1,243.

The picture for Norfolk as a whole is not much better. Government data shows that between 2016-2020 there were 1,198 pedal bike collisions across the county.

Despite there being a lockdown, in 2020 alone there were 223 pedal cyclists injured in a collision. Two of these accidents were fatal.  

Norfolk ranked 14th among UK counties for pedal cyclist accidents in the UK 

Norfolk ranked 14th among UK counties for pedal cyclist accidents in 2020 - Credit: Boyes Turner

In 2019, there were 226 pedal bike collisions. In 2018, there were 231, in 2017, 253 and in 2016, 265.

And of those collisions recorded during that five-year period from 2016-2020, nine were fatal.

According to avid Norwich cyclist Helen Webster, who was hospitalised after a serious accident, the problem is two-fold: drivers being impatient and cyclists failing to help themselves.

Brian Middleton (left) with his daughter and grandchildren

Brian Middleton (left) absolutely loves cycling and says he feels 100pc safe because of his experience of cycling in the city. He understands why others would not feel so comfortable - Credit: Cathy Middleton

Ms Webster, who suffered a broken collarbone, broken ribs a spinal fracture and bust lip, said drivers fundamentally "hated" cyclists — but that sometimes cyclists did not do enough to make themselves visible and take precautions.

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She explained: "Boris Johnson told everyone to get on their bikes but the issue is that drivers absolutely hate us.

"There's a near-miss every other day for me because I'm having to cross difficult road junctions at the busiest times. And then I get people constantly shouting "pay your road tax or get a car" at me.

"There's certain roads I would avoid as a cyclist altogether because they leave you so vulnerable."

Brian Middleton (left) said he was gutted his bike had been stolen in broad daylight

Brian Middleton (left) has spent decades cycling around Norwich, but says you need to have your wits about you and anticipate drivers' actions in order to stay safe - Credit: Cathy Middleton

For Brian Middleton, who despite being 83-years-old cycles all over Norwich, it's possible to stay safe as long as you have your wits about you.

He added: "If I hadn't been cycling for 50 to 60 years and knew these junctions like the back of my hand I'd probably see it differently."

Cyclist and Green Party councillor Ben Price added that the only way to solve the problem is with a "fully integrated" system which allows people to cycle safety from door to door.

Ben Price, Green councillor forThorpe Hamlet in Norwich City Council 2016 elections. Pic: Submitted

Councillor Ben Price said a fully integrated cycle network is what is needed in Norfolk - Credit: Submitted