An investigation has been launched into how to stem an upsurge in cycling casualties on roads made famous by the Tour de France.
North Yorkshire County Council said it had identified concerns in Richmondshire – which saw masses line its roads during the 2014 Grand Depart – that cyclists there are bucking the county’s improving road safety record.
Its Annual Road Casualty Report reveals that while the number of people killed or seriously injured on the district’s roads fell by 17 per cent in 2016 compared to the average for the previous four years, there had been an increase of nearly 90 per cent for cyclists over the same period. The report, which was presented to the council’s Richmondshire Area Committee yesterday, stated: “This year’s total of 11 cyclists killed or seriously injured in Richmondshire is the joint highest for the county since records began.”
The area’s Highways Manager Richard Marr told members while every other category of Richmondshire road user had seen falls in incidents, “the worrying part of it is the cyclists”.
He said: “That has been rising every year since 2012. There is work going on to see if there is
anything different we can do from a highways authority perspective to deal with that.”
Mr Marr said the rise in cycling injuries in the area appeared to be linked to the resurgence in cycling, which has been attributed to the international cycling events North Yorkshire has hosted.
Since the Tour de France, cycling groups in Yorkshire have reported their memberships growing year on year and in 2016, their number had swollen to 11,914.
A survey released by Sport England this week revealed Yorkshire had seen the greatest rise in physical activity among the ‘fairly active’ in the country.
Meanwhile, Department for Transport records for North Yorkshire show in 2005 there were 34 cyclists killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads.
In the three years before the Grand Depart, the number had risen to 186 and in the three years after to 246.
Mr Marr said as cyclists were being drawn to areas such as Richmondshire due to its scenery and quiet roads, the
authority was examining police accident reports in an attempt to learn where there could be cycling safety issues.
He said: “If there was a lot of accidents on a bend, we might look at whether a surface is too slippery.”
Mr Marr said while road warning signs were currently aimed at motorists, there were no specific alerts for cyclists.
He said the work to study how to cut serious cycling incidents in the area was in its initial stages, but the authority may consider installing signs at known danger points, such as where roads cross cycle tracks.
With a few weeks to go until the Tour de Yorkshire, which was launched following the success of the Grand Depart,
organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation recently announced a record 40 teams will compete this year.
Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity shared the news at Y18 – the UK’s largest tourism event – in Bradford and revealed 20 men’s and women’s teams will be in action, up from 36 in 2017. Of those, 10 teams will be taking part for the first time.
The men’s race takes place between May 3 and 6 and the women’s race will be from May 3 to 4.
Sir Gary said: “The demand from teams looking to compete in the Tour de Yorkshire is always high.”