BOURNEMOUTH council has promised to make the town safer for cyclists just days after it was named the fourth most dangerous place for those riding a bike outside London.

Latest accident figures from the Department for Transport reveal there were 139 casualties, 15 of them children, in the borough last year.

Of those 18 adults and three children suffered serious injuries. In Poole 61 people including two children, were injured with 13 adults seriously hurt.

The statistics prompted assurances from Bournemouth council that the local authority was committed to improving safety for cyclists.

Richard Pearson, traffic and road safety manager at the council, said: “With the increase in cycle routes and schemes in Bournemouth has come an increase in the number of cyclists on our roads.

"We recognise that cyclists are vulnerable road users and improving safety for cyclists therefore remains a key focus of our Local Transport Plan.

"Our approach includes new engineering measures to make better, safer spaces for cyclists on our roads, educational initiatives such as Bikeability training for children and adults and media campaigns to raise awareness of safety issues.

“The most common cause of collision is that the cyclist is simply not seen by another road user, particularly at roundabouts.

"We would therefore urge cyclists to ensure they make themselves as visible as possible by wearing colourful and reflective clothing, a cycle helmet and by always using bike lights in the hours of darkness.

"For their part we would encourage drivers to slow down, give cyclists plenty of space and look twice at junctions."

The council says it also has plans to expand cycle training.

“In the future we plan to continue to raise awareness through safety campaigns, develop more cycle networks and think about cycle safety in all improvement schemes.

"We will also continue our enforcement work with Dorset Police to target speeding and careless driver behaviour.”