Cheltenham drivers be warned: Cyclists are on the increase
ROOKIE cyclists could be in danger of being knocked down by unweary motorists.
Drivers need to start getting used to the growing number of bike riders across the area, cyclists have warned.
It comes just days after a collision in Cheltenham saw a cyclist being airlifted to hospital with potentially life changing injuries.
The 31-year-old, who lives in the town, crashed with a lorry in Sandford Mill Road.
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Paramedics airlifted him to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol where he is understood that he is being treated for leg and pelvis injuries.
It was the fourth serious accident involving a bicycle rider since the end of May.
In August, a 53-year-old from Tewkesbury was knocked from his bike in Aston Cross.
And 23-year-old Alexander Ward, who had been living in Cheltenham for nearly a year while working at GE Aviation at Bishop's Cleeve, died following a collision with a horse box near Winchcombe in July.
A 36-year-old was involved in a collision in Elmstone Hardwicke at the end of May.
John Rowland, manager of Cheltenham Cycles in Winchcombe Street, said the Wiggins effect – which has seen dozens of young cyclists try to emulate their hero Bradley Wiggins – has led to a growing number of inexperienced cyclists on the roads.
"Cycling is growing so fast at the moment and motorists have not caught up with the number of them on the road," he said.
"It is something which drivers are going to have to learn to get used to.
"Cycling has taken off in such a big way in the last two months and I think even more people are going to start doing it.
"The problem is a combination of new cyclists who are not road aware and motorists who are in their own little cocoon or who are just in a rush to get past."
But John warned it was not just the drivers who were causing problems, with many bike riders being just as dangerous.
"Some cyclists do not help themselves with they way they ride," he added.
"It drives all of us in the shop mad when we see cyclists do things like riding through a red traffic light.
"It just means drivers tar us all with the same brush."
John Mallows, chairman of Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Cycle Campaign, said the latest accident showed there needed to be a greater awareness of people on the road.
"It goes to show how careful we need to be as road users, he added."