Cyclist badly injured at new 'cycle-safe' junction
Two riders collide head-on at first UK junction with traffic lights built to protect cyclists
A CYCLIST is fighting for his life in hospital and another has head injuries, after they collided head on at the first junction in Britain to test a new cycling safety measure.
The junction in Cambridge was recently fitted with new traffic lights that feature an extra phase that gives cyclists five seconds to cross before cars are allowed to move. Mirrors have also been attached to traffic light poles to help lorry drivers see cyclists.
Many cycle campaigners welcomed the installation of the lights - the first set in the UK - because 16 riders had been injured at the junction in the past five years, 11 of them seriously, reports The Times.
The collision between the two riders happened at about 7pm on Friday at the junction of Hills Road and Regent Street, says the Cambridge Times. Both riders were taken to Cambridge's Addenbrooke's Hospital with head injuries.
Police are investigating the possibility that one of the bikes did not have a front light.
The new traffic lights are an integral part of a £900,000 upgrade of the junction and part of a government trial assessing their effectiveness. When the trial was announced in August, councillor Ian Bates of Cambridgeshire County Council, said it "should improve safety for all users at this very busy junction".
Not all cycling activists were impressed by the new system, however. Cambridge Cycling Campaign chairman Martin Lucas-Smith told the cycling website road.cc: "Stuffing evermore traffic through this accident-prone junction clearly remains the priority. We think this is totally inappropriate for a 'cycling city', and against [the council's] own policy to favour cycling and walking.
"The scheme is better than the current junction design," Lucas-Smith said, "but it would be hard to make it otherwise."