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Canterbury has more cycling accidents than anywhere else in Kent

Almost 400 cyclists were killed or injured on Kent’s roads in a year, with impatient drivers and poorly maintained roads said to be to blame.

Canterbury was identified as the county’s most dangerous place for pedal pushers, with figures revealing 53 riders were injured - nine of which were serious or fatal.

Herne Bay cyclist Jonathan Parker, who last year rode from London to Paris in world record time, is not at all surprised.

Kent's cycling accident hot spots have been revealed
Kent's cycling accident hot spots have been revealed

The 42-year-old, of Albany Drive, said: “There are two issues which make the area dangerous – the state of the roads and the attitude of drivers.

“I travel around the county, and the roads in Tonbridge are in a better state than here.

“In Canterbury, the potholes are a danger and punctures are common.

“When I have gone out to Spain in a group we have ridden several thousand miles without getting a puncture, however, here it is a different story.

Jonathan Parker
Jonathan Parker

“Secondly, drivers get impatient. They cannot afford to wait a few seconds behind a cyclist and go for a risky overtake which can result in serious injury for us cyclists and that is a massive injustice.”

Mr Parker says cyclists should not be forced to the side of roads when riding through the city.

“When cycling around Rheims Way, I would ride assertively in the middle lane instead of being on the outside,” he said.

“This will mean that the only way for motorists to get past is by using the next lane, making it a lot safer for us as we are given plenty of room.

Stats released by KCC.
Stats released by KCC.

“We are allowed to ride two abreast and it is much safer for us to do than to ride in single file.

“Some motorists get livid and want us to ride in the gutter, but we are not supposed to.”

The Highway Code says vehicles should give cyclists “at least as much room as you would a car” and says cyclists can ride two abreast except on “narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends”.

Last month, KCC officials and police spoke to drivers and cyclists in the city, reminding them of the rules.

"Lack of consideration or plain misunderstanding can easily lead to tragic consequence" - Steve Horton, KCC casualty reduction manager

The council’s casualty reduction manager, Steve Horton, said: “The aim of this campaign is to increase the understanding between drivers and cyclists looking at the challenges and difficulties we face on the roads each day.

“Lack of consideration or plain misunderstanding can easily lead to tragic consequence.”

CI Anthony Dyer added: “Nine out of 10 collisions are because of human error so it is important that we help to educate all road users on how to stay safe in order to bring the number of casualties down.”

In March 2014, dad-of-three Christian Smith was knocked off his bike and killed during a 24-hour charity ride.

Christian Smith was killed on a charity bicycle ride
Christian Smith was killed on a charity bicycle ride

The 38-year-old was cycling along the Old Thanet Way between Herne Bay and Whitstable when he was hit by a Peugeot 206.

Beth Mackie, an 18-year-old at the wheel of the car, was more than double the legal drink-drive limit.

She pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and drink-driving and was jailed for five years.

On March 10 this year, talented chef Dave Thorman was killed while cycling home from work.

Dave Thorman was killed in a crash in Whitstable
Dave Thorman was killed in a crash in Whitstable

The 35-year-old was in a collision with a van as he rode home from work along Canterbury Road in Whitstable at 8.30pm. He died at the scene.

The 21-year-old van driver was arrested and remains on police bail.

In July 2014 three cyclists were injured when a car crashed into them in a suspected hit-and-run.

Gavin Morgan and Will Rooke, both 24, and Lee Attenborough, 23, were struck on the A2 near Bridge.

Mr Rooke suffered a head injury and was airlifted to a London hospital, but released the next day.

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