Montpellier cyclist death leads to calls for action
CYCLISTS and their supporters are calling for action to save lives.
It follows the death of a 56-year-old Cheltenham cyclist in the town and new figures, which revealed an alarming number of accidents in the county this year.
The incident which led to the man's death happened at the roundabout junction of Lansdown Road and Montpellier Walk on Friday. He died at Bristol's Frenchay Hospital on Sunday and is expected to be named tomorrow when an inquest into his death is due to be opened.
Figures obtained by the Echo from Gloucestershire police showed there had been 59 accidents involving bicycles in the county this year. Of those, 15 resulted in serious injury. They included six in Tewkesbury, four in Cheltenham and one in the Cotswolds.
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Cheltenham cyclist Charlie Symes was knocked off his bike in a crash last year, weeks after fixing a camera to his handlebars to show how dangerous Cheltenham's roads were. On hearing about the fatality and the accident figures, the 18-year-old said: "I try to stay a car door's length away from the kerb so I'm not in the gutter but some drivers get aggressive because they think I'm sticking out into the road.
"They wind their window down and tell me to get in.
"There are so many occasions where vehicles are so close you could almost touch them. Buses also sometimes squeeze you in towards the kerb.
"Generally, vehicles are too close and go too quickly."
He added that he wanted motorists to consider cyclists more and, if necessary, wait for a few seconds before overtaking when there is room to do so safely.
Spokesman for cycling charity Sustrans, Gavin Watson, said: "These figures are shocking and the Government must do more to save lives on our streets.
"Practical and affordable measures, such as creating safe routes for cyclists and lowering the speed limit in our towns and cities from 30mph to 20mph, could help prevent the increasing number of injuries and such tragic and unnecessary loss of life."
Anyone who witnessed Friday's accident is asked to contact Gloucestershire police on 101 quoting incident 263 of November 2, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.