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Reader letter: All cyclists need to get a bell after my boy, 4, was run over in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 14:17 11 July 2016 | UPDATED: 14:17 11 July 2016

Ben Price, Green Party councillor. Pic: Submitted

Ben Price, Green Party councillor. Pic: Submitted

Submitted

I felt compelled to write a letter to the newspaper after a harrowing experience that myself and my family had a few weeks ago.

We had happily set off to walk to Chapelfield Park to enjoy the tea party as part of the Norwich and Norfolk Festival with my four year old son.

We stopped and took in the view on the Bishop’s Bridge, but as we turned away from the bridge my four year old son was run down by a cyclist who was travelling too fast.

My poor boy was hit hard in the back sending him hurtling to the floor as he went down, the bike then subsequently ran over his face, right in front of me. I will never shake this image from my mind.

Fortunately, little Olly was fine, with only bumps and bruises, no broken bones, but it was a very harrowing experience which has traumatised him and upset us too.

I’m a keen cyclist and I welcome improvements in cycling in our city and the better air quality and health it gives us, however, these shared pedestrian and cycle paths can be very dangerous.

The council has a duty of care to minimise these hybrid solutions which work poorly for both cyclists and pedestrians as they are dangerous.

I read in an earlier Evening News about a similar incident where a pedestrian was hit by a cyclist and it gave me the idea to launch the Buy a Bell campaign.

I did some investigating and discovered that bikes are fitted with a bell at the point of sale under the Pedal Bicycles Safety regulations, but there is no legal requirement for a bike to have a bell while being used out on the roads.

The idea of the campaign is a simple:

that every bike on the streets and shared pavements of Norwich is fitted with a bell;

that the bike servicing industry can help by including in the cost of a service a new, basic bell and that they advise their customers of the importance of having and using a bell while out cycling;

that existing cyclists will read this letter, go out and fit a bell right now, for only a few pounds and also encourage others to do so too;

that potentially the cycling organisations, along with the council and retail businesses, pool their resources and influence with the aim of funding a number of bells and get these out to the public,be that in schools, in the workplace or at events.

It should be socially unacceptable not to have a bell and warn of your approach in areas occupied by pedestrians. I implore every cyclist out there to slow down, take your time, think about the vulnerability of pedestrians on shared cycle and pedestrian pathways.

Cyclists need to consider how intimidating a bike is to a pedestrian.

Bikes are almost as intimidating as cars are to cyclists on the road.

If this cyclist had rang a bell, it would have given us an opportunity as parents to react, as it was he didn’t have one and my son stood no chance. So please, cyclists, make sure your bike is roadworthy, study the highway code, slow down and use a bell.

Councillor Ben Price, Green Party, Norwich

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