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More people are cycling to work in Stroud & Cheltenham

Cycling to work is on the increase in Stroud and Cheltenham Credit: ITV News West Country

More people are cycling to work in Stroud and Cheltenham, according to new Government figures. But other Gloucestershire districts have shown an alarming downturn, especially in the Cotswolds, where commuting by bike dropped by 26%. The local MP blames the poor condition of the roads.

Inquest hears how cyclist drowned in Bristol's Floating Harbour

Sean Phillips fell off his bike into freezing water Credit: ITV News Westcountry

A father-of-two died when he lost control of his bicycle and fell into Bristol's Floating Harbour, an inquest heard. Sean Phillips, 40, from Backwell, north Somerset, had been training for a charity ride when the accident happened on March 6 2013.

Avon Coroner's Court heard the wheels of Mr Phillips' bicycle may have become trapped in rails which guide the cranes on Prince's Wharf. Mr Phillips, a procurement manager, was seen to suddenly lose balance on his mountain bike before plunging into freezing water nearby.

Two members of the public quickly jumped in to rescue the charity fundraiser, who had been wearing a helmet, but despite their "heroic efforts" he died at the scene. The inquest heard Bristol City Council had been aware of concerns for the safety of cyclists for a decade.

Avon Coroner Maria Voisin, who reached a conclusion of accidental death, said Mr Phillips' death had prompted a series of changes to make the harbourside safer. The inquest heard there are now signs warning cyclists to use a different route due to the tracks.

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How almost £400,000 will make Bristol cycling safer

by Richard Payne

Nearly £400,000 is to be spent on trying to make cycling in Bristol safer. The numbers of people using two wheels in the city has doubled in the last decade, but injuries have risen, too.

Mayor George Ferguson arrived in office pledging to tackle Bristol's transport problems and has revealed to ITV News a controversial congestion charge may be one solution.

Government grant to make cycling on roads safer

Cycles in Bristol

The Transport Minister Norman Baker has announced £40 million to improve safety for cyclists on roads across England. He says,

"Cycling is healthy and reduces congestion so it is welcome news that more and more people are taking to two wheels.

"Ensuring this funding is targeted where improvements will make a real difference to cyclists is just one way we are ensuring this trend continues".

In South Gloucestershire, £275,000 improvements will be made to the A38 Gloucester Road. £100,000 of that will come from the Government while South Gloucestershire council will make up the rest.

In Bath, £322,100 will be spent on the Two Tunnels path, Northern Link. £252,100 from Government funds and £70,000 from Bath & North East Somerset Council.

In Bristol, £260,000 will be used to make Baldwin Street safer (half from the Government and half from the council). £500,000 will be used for a cycle path by the Gloucester Road (the funding again split between the Government and Bristol City Council)

Scene of crash

Investigations are continuing into an accident during this weekend's Severn Bridge Road Race, in which a rising cycle star was killed.

23-year-old Junior Heffernan from Devon died after colliding with a car at the side of the road as he came round a bend.

Vattingstone Lane, Elberton, South Gloucestershire
Vattingstone Lane, the scene of the weekend's fatal cycling accident in South Gloucestershire Credit: ITV West Country

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Police appeal for witnesses

Avon & Somerset Police have issued an appeal for witnesses to yesterday's fatal accident.

The crash happened on the B4461 Vattingstone Lane, at its junction with Mumbleys, at Elberton at about 12.45pm.

Junior Heffernan, who was taking part in the Severn Bridge Road Race, was travelling down Vattingstone Lane towards a left-hand bend when he hit a stationary car, which had been travelling in the opposite direction.

Despite treatment, he died at the scene.

Tributes paid following death of cyclist

Tributes have been paid to a cyclist who died while competing in the Severn Bridge Road Race in Gloucestershire yesterday. Junior Heffernan was involved in a collision with a car during the race, which was immediately abandoned.

This is a tragedy which will profoundly sadden everyone associated with cycling in this country.

My thoughts are with Junior's family and with his friends.

– British Cycling president Brian Cookson
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