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Hope Bradley Wiggins' Olympic success will help make Hampshire safer for cyclists
MORE cyclists were hurt on Hampshire’s roads last year than anywhere outside London, the Daily Echo can reveal.
A total of 816 riders were injured in 2011, up from 690 the previous year – and higher than every other police force area apart from the capital.
Campaigners hit out at the county’s record a day after Olympic hero Bradley Wiggins spoke out on cycle safety.
Lindsi Bluemel was left fighting for her life after a cycle crash in Bournemouth last year.
She said: “I think it’s shocking and it’s time that greater priority was given to cycle safety, as Bradley Wiggins said.
“We need to put this higher up the agenda.”
Hampshire’s accident record was revealed in figures given to Parliament by Transport Minister Mike Penning. Outside Greater London, Hampshire had the highest total of any police force area – ahead of Greater Manchester on 765.
Wiggins, who added the time trial to his Tour de France crown on Wednesday, called for more attention to be paid to cycle safety.
Southampton Cycling Campaign spokesman Dilys Gartside said it was “wonderful” he had brought the issue to the nation’s attention, but said helmets were not a “panacea for all ills”.
Ms Gartside called for segregated cycle lanes and lower speed limits on cycle routes, adding: “What’s going to make cycling safer is more people cycling.”
She welcomed the publicity brought by Wiggins’ success and agreed that cyclists should always wear helmets, but said her friend and fellow Southampton Cycling Campaign member Mark Brummell had been wearing one when he was killed after being in a collision with a car in the New Forest in May.
Mrs Bluemel, who is now back on her bike after recovering from her injuries, had had her helmet stolen in the weeks before the accident – and tried to buy a replacement.
However, she did think wearing one would have made a dramatic difference in her case as the impact had been on the side of her face.
She said: “It’s possible that it may have lessened the impact, I don’t know.”
Mrs Bluemel agreed helmets were important, but said it would be “ridiculous” if police were asked to enforce it.
It would be better for resources to be spent on providing free or cheap lights for cyclists, she said.
She added: “Junctions should be improved as well. That is more important than the helmets issue.”
Earlier this year 56 per cent of people responding to a Daily Echo poll said more needed to be done to encourage people to get on their bikes.
Mrs Bluemel agreed that cyclists sometimes “do ridiculous things”, putting themselves in danger.
Separate figures published by the Department for Transport show two cyclists were fined last year in Hampshire for riding through a red light, 21 for riding on a footpath, and two for “dangerous riding”.