Kent transport

Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge cyclist and driver crashes revealed by Kent Police

A library photo (above) of cyclists who have no connection to the crashes or this article, but are simply cycling in London. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

There were 58 accidents involving cyclists and drivers in Tonbridge and Malling reported to police, and 55 in Tunbridge Wells, over a three-year period.

Tonbridge and Malling and Tunbridge Wells were ranked seventh and tenth respectively out of Kent’s 12 districts with Medway for such incidents.

In Kent and Medway, 911 incidents were reported; Medway had the highest rate at 117 and Sevenoaks was fifth at 75.

The information was provided by Kent Police following a Freedom of Information Act request from e-bike retailer Avaris eBikes.

In Kent and Medway, over the same three-year period from January 1, 2019 to December 1, 2021, Kent Police figures showed 1,088 cyclists were injured or killed on the roads; 766 of them were “minor” injuries and 52 were “severe or fatal injuries”.

As we reported last week, changes to the Highway Code were put in place on Saturday January 29, placing pedestrians and then cyclists at the top of the “road user hierarchy” with the aim of improve the safety of the most vulnerable people.

The changes mean that if a driver, motorcyclist or cyclist turns or exits a road at a junction, they must stop to let pedestrians cross.

When turning into or out of an intersection, or when changing lanes or directions, drivers should not cut across cyclists traveling straight ahead. Drivers should not turn if doing so would require a cyclist to stop or swerve, and stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary.

Motorists should also use the ‘Dutch reach’ method when opening their car door, to avoid hitting passing cyclists. A driver uses his far hand to open his door, which means a twist of his body, encouraging him to look over his shoulder.

Drivers must also leave at least 1.5 meters of space when passing cyclists at speeds of up to 30 mph, and give them more space when passing at higher speeds.

Accidents involving cars and cyclists reported to the police between 2019 and 2021.

Cycling UK is a group that has campaigned for safer traffic, working closely with the Department for Transport on the changes.

Richard Heys, founder of Avaris eBikes, said: “We want roads to be safer places for cyclists and drivers, but that won’t come without commitments from both types of road users to keep up to date with the rules and practices in place, to be more aware of their surroundings and learn about all aspects of road safety.

Keep up to date with Tunbridge Wells, Kent with Mary Harris News on Facebook.