Portsmouth City Council to consider plans to support safer cycling

The corner of Eastern Road, Portsmouth
The corner of Eastern Road in Portsmouth
Tomorrow (Tuesday 17 October) Portsmouth City Council will consider a motion to plan a network of safe cycling routes and make Portsmouth’s streets safer.

The motion proposes that the council devise a strategy to implement the ‘A City To Share’ report the Portsmouth Cycle Forum was commissioned to produce back in 2014. It recommends the council consider allocate 5% of Local Transport Plan capital funds to cycling, increasing infrastructure through a network of cycle superhighways and thereby creating a cycling friendly city.

Cycling is popular in Portsmouth but it is also one of the most dangerous places to cycle in the UK. According to the BBC in an article from the 15 June, Portsmouth rates highest for deaths or injuries among cyclists in the UK outside of London.

This lack of infrastructure can have devastating consequences. On 2 June this year, Tim Atkins, 48, died following a crash with another cyclist and van while cycling along the Eastern Road.

The collision occurred as Tim and another cyclist were travelling opposite ways around a corner on a shared use path, which was too narrow and therefore not fit for purpose. They crashed into each other, and Tim fell into the road – which has a 50 mph speed limit – and was hit by a van.

His death has been attributed to poor infrastructure and has been a tragedy for Tim’s family and the van driver. Cycling UK and the Portsmouth Cycle Forum are calling for support of this motion to aid better and safer cycling in Portsmouth.

Ian Saunders, Chair of the Portsmouth Cycle Forum said:

“Portsmouth Cycle Forum was asked to submit a strategy for improving cycling in Portsmouth by the Council in the autumn of 2014. Three years on, despite it being warmly welcomed at the time, there is still no formal approval or commitment to implement or fund ‘A City To Share’. We welcome the motion to be discussed tomorrow. 

“The strategic planning, development and installation of a network of safe cycle routes to make our city fit for purpose for everyday cycling does need a proper level of funding.  

“While Local Transport Plan funding can be used to tinker around the edges and improve small pockets of junctions or lanes, there also needs to be support from central government to enable capital expenditure on the aspirational projects that will create true Space for Cycling. With flood defence renewal works and major regeneration plans for the city centre currently being developed, we are at a unique point to enable a major change in facilities and create a city for cycling."

Tom Guha, Space for Cycling Campaigns Officer at Cycling UK said:

“Compared to the national average, cycling in Portsmouth is a very popular choice of transport. Despite that, conditions in Portsmouth are generally very poor. At times, this can have tragic consequences, as the recent death of Tim Atkins sadly reminds us.

“If passed, this motion will help to prevent similar tragedies taking place in the city in the future. So far, this motion has support from the Lib Dem and Labour groups. What happens next hinges entirely on the Conservatives. We hope all parties at Portsmouth council will unite on this important issue and vote this motion through, for the safety, wellbeing and health of all the city’s residents.”

Cycling UK has made it easier for local residents to contact their local councillors by setting up an easy to use online tool


Notes to Editors:

  1. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org
  2. Cycling Stategy for City to Share Portsmouth can be found here: http://acitytoshare.org/
  3. Details of the motion can be found here: http://democracy.portsmouth.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=3443&x=1
  4. An online tool for local residents to use to ask their councillors to support the motion can be found here: https://e-activist.com/page/15054/action/1
  5. All Party Cycling Group Recommendations of £20 per head per year can be found here: https://allpartycycling.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/get-britain-cycling…
  6. BBC article of the 15 June on Tim Atkins’ death, with BBC stats on KSIs in the area http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-40293816
  7. Since Tim Atkins’ death, his sister, Joanna Atkins, has been campaigning for better measures for cycling in Portsmouth. Most of what she has been doing can be found on Twitter under the hashtag #LetsDoItForTim.
  8. Small film about Tim Atkins made by Joanna Atkins for campaigning purposes can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pompeybug/permalink/10156436293158761/

Press contact information

For more information contact the national Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email publicity@cyclinguk.org