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Cyclists say they are in danger in ‘car obsessed’ Liverpool

Liverpool cyclists say they feel unsafe driving the streets of a city that is still “car addicted”.

Liverpool have a very bad record when it comes to cycling accidents.

Between 2014 and 2018, the city recorded the highest number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on its streets.

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It’s not a record to be proud of, and while local and regional authorities have pledged to improve cycling infrastructure as part of the climate emergency plans, those currently on two wheels say that is nowhere near enough is done.

James Maloney is a photographer and cycling activist.

He said, “You are more than four times more likely to die cycling in our town than anywhere like Wigan or Knowsley. That’s a shocking statistic.”

“Liverpool is a city addicted to cars. In 2019, 1.7 billion vehicle kilometers were driven on our roads. “

“Vehicle miles in the city have gone off the charts in the last decade, but capacity hasn’t increased. Since the beginning of the pandemic, trust in public transport has decreased and it has probably increased further – all the more demand for a more environmentally friendly alternative, but then there is no profit to be made from cycling. “

James said he was hit twice in various incidents in 2019 while riding his bike in Liverpool, adding, “There’s nothing more sobering than hearing and feeling your head crack a car windshield, so I will do not cycle on main roads in built roads. Areas – especially at peak times. “

He said the city and its council had “made some effort” to improve cycling infrastructure with programs like Princes Avenue, The Strand and Regent Road – but the system was far too fragmented.

He added, “Princes Avenue is a good example of this. It looks nice as a common room, but as an active travel corridor it completely ignores any pre-existing security issues. Worse still, the council just painted a little paint “on the adjacent sidewalks where cyclists and pedestrians have no room to pass each other.”

Frustration is growing among cyclists in and around Liverpool about the facilities in the city and what they consider to be the pro-car culture.

That feeling was not helped when the city council removed a lane of the West Derby Road cycling program, one of the pop-up programs launched during the pandemic.

The council insists that this was only done because of the large sinkhole on Prescot Road and that they continue to advocate active travel in the city.

The agency says it is working on a new temporary route that could be implemented in the coming months.

Eike Weissman is a film and television reader at Edge Hill University.

She commutes to work by bike and train and said she found cycling among drivers in Liverpool “very scary”, with some overtaking at close range or disregarding her right of way.

Some cyclists criticize new infrastructures like the bike lanes on Princes Avenue

She said, “I’m starting to worry about how my children, when they are old enough, can come to school when the light was red.”

She said a major cultural change is needed in Liverpool, adding: “The city needs to take an approach that radically devalues ​​cars.

“That means creating a road infrastructure that prioritizes other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists – as many cycle paths as possible, as many wide pedestrian zones as possible.

“Traffic management should be rethought to prioritize non-drivers.

“But also to give pedestrians and cyclists safe ways to cross all roads that are not very inconvenient for them

“There should be an awareness campaign that educates drivers about the rights of non-car users: that drivers must leave enough space when overtaking, so that drivers do not automatically have right of way.”

Amid growing frustrations and concerns, the Liverpool Cycling Campaign will hold a protest at Pier Head in Liverpool on September 25th.

A statement by the group said: “In eight years, 1,119 cyclists and pedestrians have been killed or seriously injured in Liverpool.

“That’s one cyclist or pedestrian per kilometer. Although some new cycle lanes have been set up, they often make cycling or walking more dangerous and have not created a cohesive network.”

The protest is held to “remember those injured and killed and to call for safer travel to make all roads and sidewalks safer and more safe to drive”.

So what is being done and what are the authorities saying?

Liverpool Council said it takes road safety “extremely seriously” and said the number of accidents in recent years has had a major impact on its “Better Roads” plan, which aims to meet the needs of cyclists and pedestrians to get more bike lanes install, improve intersections and signaling.

A council spokesman said: “Major measures like the downtown connectivity program have clearly set themselves the goal of mitigating collisions by reducing intersections and installing permanent bike lanes.

“Thanks to a new signaling system, cyclists will have priority along the beach. The cycle path is not ready, but a temporary one will be installed to connect with the permanent one created in phase 1 of the works.

“With regard to Princes Avenue, the highway engineers are reviewing this scheme and have already made changes thanks to feedback from our cycling community.

“The council also works with a variety of partners to promote active travel – be it by bike, on foot, by train or bus.

“The council worked specifically with schools to encourage more parents to walk with their children, which includes parking a little further from the school.

“The benefits in terms of physical activity, fewer traffic jams and better air quality are of enormous importance for the development of healthy lungs in young people. The long-term benefits are substantial too – and as we have all seen in the pandemic, people with underlying respiratory diseases were hardest hit. “

Earlier this year, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram launched a campaign calling on people to get on bikes and cycle short distances to reduce emissions.

He previously announced a new bike and hiking trail network and recently went on Twitter to explain more.

He said, “We are building a 600 km network of new and improved walking and cycling routes – and through the work we are doing to gain better control of our transport network, we are ensuring that it blends seamlessly into other forms from public transport. “

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