Road Safety Week – Cyclists on the Road
Did you know that cyclists are more likely to be seriously injured in road accidents? We’ve looked into some of the ways both cyclists and motorists can avoid this from happening.
Every year, Brake (the road safety charity) co-ordinate Road Safety Week. The week is used to raise awareness about a different element of road safety every year. This year, their theme is Bike Smart. According to their website, more than a third of people killed or seriously injured on UK roads are travelling by bike, so it’s definitely an area that requires more awareness. The Department of Transport also found that cyclists have some of the largest causality and fatality rates per billion passenger miles. We’ve put together some key information to keep cyclists safe on the road.
What can cyclists do to keep safe?
Be clued up
Make sure you have read, and consistently follow, The Highway Code. This means that you need to be stopping at red lights and cycling on the road with the rest of the traffic (unless there’s a cycle path – of course!). Although it’s hard for you to monitor how fast you’re going, you need to make sure you’re under the speed limit, especially when you’re going down hill or if the road surface is wet/icy.
Wear the right stuff
So you can see: Sunglasses are vital for a number of reasons. First of all, glasses serve as a barrier against stones and other debris that may fly up from the road. They also prevent your eyes from streaming if you’re cycling at a speed. Obviously, they keep the sun out of your eyes so sunlight doesn’t impair your vision.
So you can be seen: It’s harder for cars to avoid you if they can’t see you! High-visibility clothing, alongside the correct lights and reflectors, will make sure that you’re hard to miss.
So you can be heard: They may have been your parent’s worst nightmare when you were growing up, but your cycle bell comes in super handy when you’re going unseen.
So you can be protected: Your head is packing some pretty important cargo and you should be keeping it safe. Make sure that you’re wearing a properly fitted helmet!
Be aware of other road users
You need to constantly be aware that you are a vulnerable road user. This means that you often need to predict what other road users are going to do and think about how it’s going to affect you. For example, you need to be able to predict a driver’s turning intentions, and make sure you’re not in their way if they’re going to turn without looking. You also need to think about driver’s blind spots, and whether or not it’s possible for them to see you. Other things you need to be aware of are car doors swinging open and pedestrian actions.
Consider getting a helmet camera
Some believe that helmet cameras lead to other road users showing more respect. Helmet cameras can help with claims in case of an accident, but they also double up as a deterrent for anti-social behaviour against cyclists.
What can cars do to keep cyclists safe?
As a motorist, it is your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings constantly. Before you turn, or even move position on the road (e.g. when over taking parked cars, and when moving back in) you need to be checking your mirrors for vulnerable road users.
Remember that cyclists have as much right to be on the road as you do. Being impatient and tailgating or beeping your horn at them could lead them to making mistakes due to stress.
Give them space
Never travel extremely close to a cyclist – they may need to brake or slow down suddenly. When overtaking a cyclist, you need to leave at least as much room as you would a car. Be aware that cyclists may swerve unexpectedly to avoid hazards like potholes, so you need to make sure you’re a good distance away from them when overtaking.
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