Roads still no safer for Britain's cyclists

The number of bike accidents has risen, angering the victims' families. By Kevin Rawlinson

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The Independent Online

The number of cyclists killed and seriously injured on Britain's roads has risen by 8 per cent from last year, despite improvements in injury rates for all other road users.

Families of those killed in crashes accused politicians of "not listening" as they prepared to join cyclists in central London on Sunday as part of a campaign to improve road safety.

Newspapers have added weight to demands for legislation that would require lorries to fit safety devices and improve road layouts. Kate Cairns, whose sister Eilidh was killed by a lorry driver in London in 2009, accused politicians of "complacency". She said: "There is an implicit idea that there are accidents; that they are unavoidable. But these are not accidents."

Addressing the House of Commons Transport Committee, Roads Minister, Mike Penning, said: "It would help save a lot of cyclists' lives and stop a lot of serious injuries if so many of you didn't go through a red light.

"Now that's not saying that we should make them all criminals and all pariahs and there are motorcycles that go through, but it is so bloody dangerous."

Responding to the comments, a RoadPeace spokesman said: "Cyclists are not being killed running red lights.

"It is when they are moving away from a red light with a lorry. It is disappointing to hear it from the minister who is supposed to be in charge of fixing the problem."

Cynthia Barlow's 26-year-old daughter, Alex McVitty, was killed when she was hit by a cement lorry in 2000. She said: "The problem is that our concerns and recommendations are not being acted on." Ms Barlow, chair of the RoadPeace safety campaign group, said most responsibility for road safety should rest with the "person who poses the most risk to the rest of the road users.

"If people are going to put their staff out there on the roads, they need to make sure they are properly equipped."

RoadPeace is campaigning for all HGVs to be fitted with sensors to beat blind spots. It plans to meet on Sunday – the anniversary of Eilidh Cairns' death – to launch a website, SeeMeSaveMe, as part of a campaign to make the sensors mandatory.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We are committed to improving safety for cyclists."