Warwickshire Police highlights the needs of vulnerable road users
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Warwickshire Police is highlighting the needs of Vulnerable Road Users as part of a national NPCC campaign between 9 and 22 November 2020 aimed at improving the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders on the roads.
PS Shaun Bridle said “Vulnerable road users do not have the same protection as a driver sitting in a vehicle and even relatively minor contact can seriously injure them. For this reason we are asking drivers to please take extra care around pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders using the roads.”
The latest statistics tell us that the most vulnerable road users in Warwickshire in 2019 were motorcyclists and cyclists.
MOTORCYCLISTS Over a third (35%) of road fatalities in Warwickshire were motorcyclists with 12 motorcyclists losing their lives in 2019. This is considerably higher than the national average of 19% of those killed on our roads being motorcyclists.
The reasons for this can be complex but motorcyclists can be difficult for other road users to see, especially at junctions and are often moving quicker than you might think. Motorcyclists can also be affected by side wind, when being overtaken and are often injured when cars pull out of junctions.
Warwickshire Police is encouraging bikers to improve their skills by progressing on to accredited post-test training courses such as BikeSafe or Biker Down.
CYCLISTS Twelve per cent (or four people) were killed cycling in Warwickshire in 2019. In percentage terms, this is twice the national average of 6%. In the same period a further 24 cyclists were seriously injured and 74 cyclists suffered slight injuries.
We a reminding drivers that cyclists can be difficult to see, especially at junctions, have a tendency to wobble, and are easily affected by side wind when being overtaken. Cyclists are particularly vulnerable at roundabouts as they cannot move off very quickly. Cyclists ride away from the kerb to avoid drains and debris and to be more easily seen.
We are asking drivers to please take extra care when overtaking cyclists and to leave plenty of space.
It is really important to leave plenty of space - at least 1.5m or a car’s width when overtaking a cyclist as they may have to move out into the road to avoid hazards like drains, potholes or debris.
Cycling UK have produced a Too Close for Comfort video to show drivers what it’s like to be close passed so non cyclists can understand it from a cyclist’s perspective. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kgPt-lNYGY
Cyclists too can take action to help keep themselves safe on the roads. It’s important to check your bike regularly – especially the brakes, make sure you can be seen by wearing hi-vis and take extra care on the road particularly at junctions where three quarters of cyclist collisions happen. It’s also a legal requirement to cycle with lights between sunset and sunrise.
CHILDREN Whilst most people are now staying at home, children are continuing to attend school. Nationally, around 30 child pedestrians are killed or seriously injured every week. Please remember that children often misjudge the speed and intentions of drivers. They are easily distracted, and may dash into the road without looking.
OLDER PEDESTRIANS However nearly half of all pedestrians killed nationally are aged over 60. Older people may have difficulties in seeing or hearing approaching traffic, and may have decreased mobility and so need more time to cross a road for example.
HORSE RIDERS An increasing number of people have taken up horse riding and whilst most riders prefer not to use the roads, they still need to use roads to reach bridleways and other off-road facilities.
Please be aware that horse riders sometimes ride in double file to protect novice riders or nervous horses, are often able to see and hear further ahead than a motorist, and may signal to you. The riders may be children or young people.
Many road collisions involving horses happen on minor roads. Please remember that horses are powerful animals that are easily frightened and can panic in traffic. Please slow down and give them plenty of room when overtaking.
OP SNAP Members of the public can also help improve road safety in Warwickshire by reporting and submitting digital footage showing potential moving traffic offences as part of Operation Snap. This can range from driving dangerously or carelessly to overtaking on solid white lines, using a mobile phone while driving, ignoring traffic lights or dangerous driving around other road users, such as horse riders and cyclists.