A WESTWOOD ward Councillor has pleaded for ‘phantom’ cyclists to stay safe this winter following a string of incidents on the road last winter.
As the nights draw in, Coun David Skinner is urging cyclists to stay safe this winter and invest in visible clothing and appropriate cycle lights now before a potentially serious incident occurs.
He has also advised cyclists, who are otherwise not visible to motorists on the roads, to not use headphones while riding and to leave plenty of space between themselves and cars.
With new university students arriving in the city in the coming weeks and further construction work planned in the city, Coun Skinner has admitted the problem can only get worse unless riders ‘come out of the dark’.
Speaking to The Observer, Coun Skinner said he hopes last year’s incidents will make people understand how dangerous cycling in the dark can be.
He added: “There’s been hundreds of examples of ‘phantom’ cyclists in Coventry I could talk about it until New Year’s Eve.
“Last year some people were riding on the wrong side of the road, riding with no lights, wearing dark clothing and sometimes listening to music.
“Cycling like this is so dangerous and I cannot stress enough how we need to get the message out across Coventry that all cyclists should be suitably kitted out and clothed when riding around the city during the night time.”
In one incident last year, Coun Skinner witnessed a foreign student from Japan attempt to cycle from Coventry to Rugby via the A46 with no lights, dark clothing and multiple bags of shopping wrapped around her handlebars.
Despite being perfectly well mannered and polite, the young lady didn’t understand the dangers of what she was about to do.
Coun Skinner said that example was one of the more extreme – though there’s dozens more which are equally as shocking.
He said: “Another incident involving myself happened when I was driving home from the council house along a 40mph road – my estimate is that I was travelling 25mph, well under the speed limit.
“All of a sudden a cyclist with no form of protection or suitable clothing sped out in front of me – had I been travelling 40mph I would’ve hit him and possibly caused serious injury.”
Though the majority of cyclists do ride with the necessary equipment needed during the winter, the few who do not are putting themselves and other motorists at risk – something Coun Skinner is keen to tackle.
He said: “In fairness not everyone rides in this manner, but for those who do it’s important they understand the dangers until it’s too late.
“More houses are being constructed, more buildings are being planned and we have HS2 around the corner – once all those are in place roads will become even more congested and dangerous.
“I’ve been a victim of a car crash myself and I’d hate for anyone else to be in the situation I was in during my experience.
“Some residents have told me people won’t listen and campaigning is a waste of time but I do hope people take note of the incidents listed and ensure they ride safe this winter.”