StreetSafe Blog

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Cycle safely this summer

Posted by StreetSafe on April 22, 2010

Police today issued an appeal for pedal cyclists to take care on Cumbria’s roads, and for motorists to stay alert as the cycling season kicks in.

The number of people using bicycles increases in Spring and Summer, which brings with it an increase in the number of collisions and injuries sustained by cyclists.

In 2009 there were a total of 123 road traffic collisions involving pedal cyclists in Cumbria resulting in injury, 86 of which occurred between April and September.

• 29 of these occurred in the South Lakes (six resulted in serious injury to the cyclist)
• 22 occurred in Barrow (three were serious)
• 39 occurred in North Cumbria (5 were serious)
• 33 occurred in West Cumbria (9 were serious)

Police and partner agencies today issued a reminder for cyclists to take care, and for motorists to stay alert.

Inspector Richard Vernon from Cumbria’s Roads Policing Unit said: “The causes of collisions involving pedal cyclists can vary considerably but the usual outcome involves a major injury to the cyclist. This is the start of the period of highest risk for cyclists so I would like to deliver two messages, one to cyclists to do everything they can to be visible and avoid dangerous situations and the second to motorists to give extra consideration to cyclists.

“27 per cent of collisions involving bicycles are caused when drivers fail to see the bicycle, but a surprisingly 18 per cent are caused by cyclists failing to look properly, especially at right hand turns.

“This highlights the importance of cyclists wearing high visibility clothing and helmets. Cyclists should be also especially cautious of riding along the nearside of large goods vehicles where there is a left hand bend or left junctions because a long vehicle turning can ‘squeeze’ the cyclist and ultimately run them over.”

Top tips for cyclists:
• Wear high visibility clothing and a helmet
• Make sure the bike is in good working order – especially the brakes
• Use good quality lights in hours of darkness and reduced visibility
• Avoid the nearside of large goods vehicles while cycling near sharp left bends or left turns
• Practice the ability to check over your left shoulder while cycling without causing a wobble
• Take special care when turning right and signal clearly so that there can be no doubt about your intentions

Top tips for drivers:
• Give extra space to cyclists when passing
• Judge the path and speed of the cyclist, especially at junctions and where the road narrows
• When opening a car door on the roadside check for oncoming cyclists
• Be aware of the potential for cyclists to ride on the nearside while vehicles are waiting at traffic lights or junctions

Insp Vernon said: “By staying alert, and by looking out for one another on the roads, we can help make Cumbria safer.”

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