Increase in cyclists prompts police to share safety message
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With more novice cyclists than ever taking to the roads for their daily exercise during COVID-19, police are urging both cyclists and drivers to follow some simple safety tips to help keep everyone safe on Warwickshire’s roads.
Inspector Jem Mountford said “During week ending 24 April there were two serious collisions involving cyclists and cars in the county. In both cases the cyclists were hospitalised with serious injuries. Whilst these collisions are still being investigated it has prompted the Roads Policing Team to urge the public to please stay alert to traffic – even if you think the roads are quieter – and to take extra care around other road users whether you are a driver, cyclist, walker, motorcyclist or horse rider.”
The type of cyclists we see on Warwickshire’s roads range from the most experienced race cyclists to whole families some of whom may have never been out on the road before. Cycling has huge benefits for individuals and society in terms of health and wellbeing and the environment and we want to encourage people to continue.
However, 4 cyclists were killed and 24 were seriously injured on Warwickshire’s roads in 2019. The age groups most affected are 11-15 year olds and 46-55 year olds, although all age groups are affected up to the 86-90 age group. This is too many casualties and we are urging road users to follow some simple safety tips to help keep everyone safe:-
We are sharing the following safety tips for novice cyclists:-
Follow the government advice about how you exercise and observe social distancing while you do it
Plan your journey in advance and advise someone of where you are going and when you intend to return, especially if you are cycling in a remote location.
If you are cycling with a young family, consider riding routes with dedicated cycle paths to ensure the safety of young children and pedestrians. Please remember that if you are cycling on the roads that vehicles such as HGVs, are still regularly travelling routes in order to move much-needed supplies. Large vehicles might scare and unbalance young children on bicycles when overtaking them.
Ensure that your bicycle is roadworthy. If it has been unused for a while, ensure that the mechanisms such as brakes and gears are working and that tyres are pumped up before starting any ride. Brake failure can cause a serious collision. Follow this link for a short video clip from Cycling UK showing you how to do the M check on your bike. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94RqKKbG2GQ
Please take extra care at junctions. Nationally around three quarters of cyclist collisions happen at or near them (Source: Cycling UK)
Think about your positioning in the road and whether you can be seen by other road users. Wearing reflective clothing and ensuring that your bike is fitted with lights and/ or reflective discs helps with visibility. Assuming a position towards the centre of the lane where possible maximises the rider’s line of vision and means that other road users have a clear view of you.
If you are riding with protection around your face ensure that this does not restrict your head movement and that you are able to look around freely without restriction so that safety checks can be carried out.
If you’re riding with your family, help motorists overtake you with the safe distance of 1.5 metres by filtering down to single file.
Effectively communicate with other road users, by using hand signals when turning left or right. Try to make eye contact with other road users and pedestrians to ensure that they have seen you.
We are asking drivers to:-
Follow the latest government guidelines around COVID-19, stay at home and only drive for essential purposes. These can be found on www.gov.uk
Please slow down and take extra care around these vulnerable road users giving them extra space and time.
Always expect the unexpected around each corner, and pass cyclists at a minimum distance of 1.5 metres when it is safe to do so, particularly on left hand bends. Cycling UK have produced a Too Close for Comfort video to show drivers what it’s like to be close passed so they can understand it from a cyclist’s perspective. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kgPt-lNYGY
Please take extra care around cyclists (and other vulnerable road users) at junctions where three quarters of cyclist collisions happen.
You must ensure your brakes are efficient, and at night use lit front and rear lights and have a red rear reflector.