Revealed: Crash hotspots for city's cyclists

Cyclist in Norwich

New data has revealed where the crash hotspots are for cyclists in Norwich - Credit: Antony Kelly

The most dangerous roads for cyclists in Norwich have been revealed.

New data from the Department for Transport identifies which streets have seen the most accidents involving bicycles.

The hotspots include Newmarket Road, the Fiveways roundabout, St Stephens roundabout and the junction of Constitution Hill and Woodcock Road

The figures show there were a total of 83 accidents involving cyclists in 2020 - the most recent year for which the data is available. Of these, 20 were classified as 'serious'.

The statistics come weeks after Norwich was named as one of the most dangerous places in the UK for cyclists, and local campaigners say they show that despite improvements to the city's cycle network not enough is being done to keep riders safe.

The worst street for accidents was Newmarket Road, where seven were recorded, two of them serious. Earlham Road had six crashes, including two which were serious.

Drayton Road had five, one of them serious. Other clusters were on Unthank Road and Dereham Road.

There were far fewer accidents in the city centre, with almost all occurring outside the inner ring road. None of the accidents recorded were fatal.

Lucy Hall and the team at Bicycle Links (photo: Denise Bradley)

Lucy Hall and the team at Bicycle Links - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

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Lucy Hall, project manager at Bicycle Links, a social enterprise and bike shop in the city, said the data showed that improvements to Norwich's cycle network in recent years don't go far enough.

"Changes have been quite good and the council is moving in the right direction but they don't go far enough," she said.

"It would be great to see more traffic-free routes in the city and county as a whole. Big private cars are fine on motorways but are not right for city centres.

"The more that people experience cycling the better and it would be helpful if cycle training was part of learning to drive."

The total of 83 accidents in 2020 was actually a reduction of 20pc compared with the five-year average. Experts say this is because the city was in lockdown for much of the year, and traffic levels were much reduced.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport. Pict

Cllr Martin Wilby - Credit: Simon Parkin

Cllr Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, said: "At a time that the number of people cycling is increasing, thankfully we're not seeing any corresponding increase in the number of collisions, and have seen a drop in accidents in the city.

"We’re looking forward to building on that with further promotion of our pedalway network and are working with the cycling charity, Sustrans, who are scrutinising new cycle schemes that we are designing to ensure benefits and safety are maximised.

"We will continue to routinely monitor collisions and take action to make further improvements using a data-led approach."

In November, Norwich cyclists spoke about their experience travelling in the city with one woman saying she "arrives to work in tears". Cathie Sloman shared footage of the abuse she sometimes receives from motorists.

A Norfolk Police spokeswoman said: "Our roads are for everyone to use, but those classed as vulnerable road users are at greater risk of coming to harm in a collision, despite only accounting for a relatively small percentage of overall journeys that are made.

"We encourage all motorists to be on the look-out for vulnerable road users and to ensure you pass them at an appropriate speed, allowing sufficient time and space to do so. They have as much right to be on the roads as anyone else."

Changes to the Highway Code are to come in force next year, establishing a hierarchy of road users that means those who pay a greater risk to others have a higher level of responsibility.

This means someone cycling has greater responsibility towards pedestrians and motorists will have greater responsibility to look out for cyclists. 

Ms Hall welcomed these changes but believes shifting attitudes among road users has a long way to go. "It makes a lot of sense and motorists need to give way to more vulnerable road users," she added. "We need to change attitudes more. It's about having equal respect for all road users and it only takes a few bad road users to have an impact. 

"Younger generations are more used to being on bikes but there is still a generation that has always used a car and feel that car is king."

City of cyclists

Cycling has become a popular mode of transport in the city in recent years, as shown by the success of the Beryl Bikes project. 

Beryl initially launched a bike share scheme in the spring of 2020 with up to 600 manual and electric-assist bikes available to hire. 

It has since been expanded to create more bays for cyclists in the centre and surrounding areas. 

Meanwhile, the Transport for Norwich Green Pedalway scheme has seen £1.6m spent on improving road safety for pedestrians and cyclists along Earlham Road.

Work began on a cycle safety scheme at Earlham Fiveways in June 2019 to reduce the number of accidents at the roundabout. 

Work is currently taking place to build a cycle lane in Surrey Street, while the county council asked for feedback in the summer on proposals to improve the Ipswich Road area, including new cycle lanes on both sides between the A140 Outer Ring Road and the Newmarket Road junction.