Research reveals the most dangerous road in Liverpool for cyclists

A total of 1,135 incidents between drivers and cyclists were reported to Merseyside Police across the region over a three-year period.

The above video shows the journey of Wirral resident Ed Lamb’s six-year-old son on his way to school in Merseyside in 2019.

Smithdown Road in South Liverpool has been highlighted as a danger zone for cyclists after research revealed it as a hotspot for collisions.

Merseyside Police said the road, which forms part of the A562, had the ‘most reported road traffic incidents involving cyclists and drivers’ over ten months between January and October in 2021.

The data is part of responses to a freedom of information (FOI) request from electric bike retailer Avaris eBikesto Merseyside Police, as part of the company’s research into safety and awareness on the roads.

Merseyside Police cited Liverpool as the area with the most reported road traffic incidents involving both drivers and cyclists last year, between January 2021 and October 2021.

The junction of Smithdown Road and Bagot Street. Photo: Sue Adair

The stats: A total of 1,135 incidents between drivers and cyclists were reported to the force over three years between January 2019 and October 2021.

The data shows that in 2019, 343 of these incidents were reported to the police, in 2020, there were 393, and in 2021, up until October 31, 399 incidents were reported.

As well as this, the responses show 261 cyclists were ‘seriously injured’ in crashes reported to the police over the three-year period, with a peak of 100 serious incidents in 2020.

Merseyside Police’s response

Roads policing inspector Carl McNulty said: “Offenders who drive carelessly and dangerously on our roads not only risk their own safety, they risk the lives of other road users including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians

“Our Roads Policing Unit patrols the roads of Merseyside 365 days a year to protect people and regularly help bring to justice those who threaten the safety of pedestrians, drivers and cyclists by driving recklessly and at speed.

“Here in Merseyside, we have sadly seen the devastation that can be caused to victims and their families when people are killed or seriously injured on our roads.

“Every serious collision impacts upon the lives of so many people, and we are committed to reducing such incidents to spare other families the grief and hurt, and putting those who drive dangerously before the courts.

“Speeding and anti-social driving are some of the most common complaints that our officers receive every week, and the increasing use of helmet-mounted cameras has enabled cyclists to capture evidence of their experiences.”

He said that the police target patrols and mobile speed cameras where the public tell them there are issues, and work with local authority partners on traffic calming measures where appropriate.

“A number of dedicated cycle lanes have also been created in recent years, notably on The Strand and Princes Avenue in Liverpool, in order to further protect cyclists and to encourage cycling in the area.

“Where road users and residents report incidents, we will take necessary action,” he added.

‘Roads of Merseyside hostile to pedestrians and cyclists’

Wirral resident Ed Lamb co-founded community interest company Rethink Now, which aims include tackling sustainable transport and road safety issues locally.

He helped organise the Leverhulme Summer Cycle event last year where hundreds of people cycled around the Leverhulme Estate, Wirral.

Mr Lamb said: “The roads of Merseyside have long been known to be hostile to pedestrians and cyclists, and the new data supplied by Merseyside Police backs this up.

“At a time where we face the huge issues of air pollution and the threat of climate change, we urgently need more people to choose walking and cycling.

“The police can’t be everywhere and nor can we expect all road users to be filming their journeys or spending their evenings filling out police reports.

“The new Highway Code rules lay the foundation for a sustainable transport revolution but they are not enough on their own.

“What we need next is a concerted effort to make safe our main roads and dangerous junctions. We require a rapidly deployed network of safe walking and cycling routes where people feel safe letting their children walk to school or cycling to see friends and family.”

The hazards of cycling around Merseyside. Photo: Ed Lamb

“Every incident, close call or fatality on our roads is an opportunity to learn and we ask our local leaders to stand by their words to take active travel seriously and invest with urgency,” Mr Lamb added.

New rules to protect cyclists in the updated Highway Code

The Department for Transport has updated rules in the Highway Code with the introduction of a ‘hierarchy of road users’, to prioritise and protect those most at risk of serious collisions, such as pedestrians and cyclists.

The changes came into effect on January 29.

At least two in three drivers were unaware of the proposed changes before Christmas, according to the AA, which polled 13,000 of its members on the subject.

Richard Heys, the founder of Avaris eBikes, has welcomed the proposed updates and said he hopes if approved, the new rules will help cyclists and drivers to work better together for optimum safety on the roads: All road users need to be aware of the Highway Code and should shoulder their responsibility to take care of others.

“This is extremely important because there is an ever-growing number of cyclists on the roads for a number of reasons. A huge amount of people, even those living outside cities, are now saving time and money by using electric and traditional bikes to commute to and from work, which is very convenient to do on an eBike thanks to the pedal-assisted power.

“Fitness goals, gridlocked cities at rush-hour, general traffic, and a greater awareness of how carbon emissions are impacting our environment, mean people are switching away from car use and making smarter choices.

“We want roads to be safer places for cyclists and drivers, but this won’t come without both types of road users committing to being up-to-date with the rules and practices in place, being more aware of their surroundings, and educating themselves about all aspects of road safety.”