With warmer weather on the way Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership is asking drivers and cyclists to please stay alert and look out for each other especially at junctions and to make sure you know the recent changes to the Highway Code.
Sergeant Shaun Bridle said “The changes to the Highway Code are a reminder that all road users have a responsibility to look after one another, in particular the most vulnerable road users such as cyclists.”
The new guidance in the Highway Code gives drivers and motorcyclists the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to cyclists.
Guidance for drivers and motorcyclists:-
- Leave at least 1.5 metres or 5 feet when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds.
- On roundabouts give priority to people cycling. You should not attempt to overtake people cycling within that person’s lane and allow people cycling to move across your path as they travel around the roundabout. Remember people cycling may stay in the left-hand lane of a roundabout when they intend to continue across or around the roundabout.
- Stay behind if you are following a cyclist approaching a roundabout or junction, and you intend to turn left.
- Drivers or motorcyclists wanting to turn either left or right should not cut across cyclists going straight ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane. The rule applies whether the cyclist is using a cycle lane, a cycle track or is on the road ahead
- Check for cyclists when opening your car door by using the dutch reach. For example, drivers should use their left hand to open a door on their right-hand side. This will make them turn their head to look over their shoulder behind them.
Guidance for cyclists:-
- The Highway Code has issued updated advice about safe road positioning for cyclists. It’s appropriate to ride in the centre of the lane on quiet roads, in slower moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings.
- Cyclists should keep at least 0.5m (approx 1.5 feet) away from the kerb edge and further where it is safer when riding on busy roads with faster moving vehicles
- Cyclists should take care when passing parked vehicles leaving enough room to avoid being hit if a car door is opened. Watch out for pedestrians.
- The advice around cycling straight ahead at a junction has also been clarified in the Highway Code to make riding safer. Cyclists riding straight ahead have priority over traffic turning into or out of a side junction, unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise. However, cyclists still need to watch out for drivers who may not have seen them.
- When someone is waiting to cross the road at a junction, or has started crossing, traffic including cyclists, should give way to them.
- If a pedestrian is crossing at a zebra crossing, cyclists must give way.
- Cyclists may pass slower moving or stationary traffic on either the left or right. Ride cautiously when overtaking large vehicles or when approaching junctions
- in shared spaces, cyclists should give way to walkers and horse riders
- Bike riders should slow down when necessary and let people walking know they are there for example by saying hello or ringing their bell
- Always remember that pedestrians may be deaf, blind, or partially sighted
- Cyclists should not pass walkers, horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles closely or at high speed especially from behind.
- Do not pass a horse on the horse’s left.
Cyclists riding two abreast can be a subject of heated debate, but the updated Highway Code advises that cyclists may ride two abreast. This can be safer, especially when riding in larger groups, or with children or inexperienced riders. Cyclists should be aware of drivers trying to overtake them from behind and allow them to overtake for example, by riding single file or stopping when it’s safe to do so.
Sergeant Shaun Bridle said “Whilst it is optional, we are encouraging cyclists to make good choices about what clothing to wear especially when riding at night or in the winter months. Bright clothing, and reflective goods can make a huge difference. Although wearing a helmet isn’t a legal requirement, there are real safety benefits to wearing one.
“However one thing all cyclists must do is use cycle lights and reflectors between sunset and sunrise.”
“We also encourage cyclists to watch the wheel of vehicles at junctions as that gives an indication of where the vehicle is going and is more reliable than eye contact.”
This new guidance is there to protect cyclists as even relatively minor contact from a vehicle can seriously injure them.
Our statistics clearly illustrate this, in 2021 whilst 70% of injuries to cyclists were slight, 2 cyclists died on Warwickshire’s roads and 28 were seriously injured with the vast majority of these being male, aged between 41-55 and also 11-15 years old. However there has been an increase in the number of injured female pedal cyclists with 6 being seriously injured in 2021 compared to only 2 in 2020.
Collisions involving cyclists were most likely to occur at T-junctions or staggered junctions and roundabouts.
In 2021, 63% of those killed or seriously injured were on roads with a 30mph speed limit this is a slight increase from 2020, however there has been a large reduction in the number of killed and seriously injured on roads where the speed limit is 50mph in 2020 37% in 2021 10%.
In 2021 collisions occurred throughout the week but the most likely times were between 06:00 and 09:00 and then between 15:00 to 21:00. This is perhaps when most cyclists choose to go out on their bikes.
Members of the public can also help improve road safety in Warwickshire by reporting and submitting digital footage showing potential 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.
Your submission will be sent to Warwickshire Police where the evidence will be reviewed by one of our road traffic police officers. Click here for more information https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/operationsnap