POLICE on the Lisburn Road must protect cyclists by keeping bicycle lanes free, a local MLA has said.

Conall McDevitt spoke out following a collision last week involving a cyclist close to the junction with Marlborough Park which forced police to close the road for a period, causing traffic disruption.

No one was seriously injured as a result of the incident last Thursday. However the SDLP Assemblyman and keen cyclist, Mr McDevitt told the South Belfast News the PSNI needed to force motorists to keep the cycle lanes clear at all times, as they were regularly used as temporary parking bays by drivers.

“In the direction of the city centre, cyclists are forced to share the bus lane, which itself can present problems. However, cars are regularly parked in this lane along the road forcing both buses and cyclists into the other lane.

“Leaving town, again there’s cars parked in the inside lane which forces cyclists into traffic. Parking wardens do what they can, but we need the police to properly enforce the rules of the road.

“The Lisburn Road is very popular with cyclists, and unfortunately we are likely to see more accidents unless more is done on this issue.”

A PSNI spokeswoman told the South Belfast News that while traffic wardens issued fines to those parked in cycle or bus lanes, moving motorists were a police matter.

“Police urge motorists to afford cyclists plenty of room when overtaking. Cyclists rarely come off best in traffic collisions, so please put road safety first,” she said.

“Care is required at junctions, and cyclists should be especially wary of stopping at the nearside of larger vehicles that are intending to turn left, as they may not be seen and the vehicle may cut across their path.

“Walking a bike across busy junctions may be a safer option.”