According to the Department for Transport, the number of cyclists seriously injured has increased in recent years, faster than the increase in cyclists out on the roads. While this doesn’t appear to tally with other analysis we have seen it’s certainly true that risk isn’t reducing. The DfT have targeted 5 cities, plus London, as being most ‘at-risk’; Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds and Manchester.
The campaign separates out advice for cyclists and drivers as follows:
- Look out for cyclists, especially when turning – make eye contact if possible so they know you’ve seen them
- Use your indicators – signal your intentions so that cyclists can react
- Give cyclists space – at least half a car’s width. If there isn’t sufficient space to pass, hold back. Remember that cyclists may need to manoeuvre suddenly if the road is poor, it’s windy or if a car door is opened
- Always check for cyclists when you open your car door
- Avoid driving over advanced stop lines – these allow cyclists to get to the front and increase their visibility
- Follow the Highway Code including ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights
- Ride positively, decisively and well clear of the kerb – look and signal to show drivers what you plan to do and make eye contact where possible so you know drivers have seen you
- Avoid riding up the inside of large vehicles, like lorries or buses, where you might not be seen
- Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor
- Wearing light coloured or reflective clothing during the day and reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark increases your visibility
- Follow the Highway Code including observing ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights
- THINK! recommends wearing a correctly fitted cycle helmet, which is securely fastened and conforms to current regulations
The campaign’s messages are all very sensible and make it clear that cyclists need to be adopting prominent positions, away from the kerb on narrow roads. Whether this message will filter through to drivers is another matter. David Cameron has recently said that motorists, ‘have to think carefully [about cyclists]’, and that he is a ‘big fan’ of the cycling revolution as it will help to make us a fitter an healthier country. So, is they key to making cycling safer the education of drivers or is it always up to cyclists to keep themselves safe?