AN INCREASE in novice cyclists during lockdown has prompted a police safety warning.
Both cyclists and drivers are being urged to follow simple safety tips to help keep everyone safe on Warwickshire’s roads.
Insp Jem Mountford said “During the week ending April 24 there were two serious collisions involving cyclists and cars in the county.
“In both cases the cyclists were hospitalised with serious injuries. Whilst these collisions are still being investigated it has prompted the Roads Policing Team to urge the public to please stay alert to traffic – even if you think the roads are quieter – and to take extra care around other road users whether you are a driver, cyclist, walker, motorcyclist or horse rider.”
Cyclists seen on Warwickshire’s roads range from experienced race cyclists to whole families some of who may have never been out on the road before.
Cycling has huge benefits for individuals and society in terms of health and wellbeing and the environment and police say they want to encourage people to continue.
But four cyclists were killed and 24 were seriously injured in Warwickshire last year. The age groups most affected are 11 to 15 year-olds and 46 to 55 year-olds, although all age groups are affected up to the 86 to 90 age group.
Police are sharing the following safety tips for novice cyclists:
* Follow government advice about how you exercise and observe social distancing while you do it
* Plan your journey in advance and advise someone of where you are going and when you intend to return, especially if you are cycling in a remote location.
* If you are cycling with a young family, consider riding routes with dedicated cycle paths to ensure the safety of young children and pedestrians. Remember if cycling on the roads that vehicles such as HGVs, are still regularly travelling routes in order to move much-needed supplies. Large vehicles might scare and unbalance young children on bicycles when overtaking them.
· Ensure your bicycle is roadworthy. If it has been unused for a while, ensure that the mechanisms such as brakes and gears are working and that tyres are pumped up before starting any ride. Brake failure can cause a serious collision. To watch a Cycling UK video showing how to do a bike check
· Take extra care at junctions. Nationally around three quarters of cyclist collisions happen at or near them.
* Think about your positioning in the road and whether you can be seen by other road users. Wearing reflective clothing and ensuring that your bike is fitted with lights and/ or reflective discs helps with visibility. Assuming a position towards the centre of the lane where possible maximises the rider’s line of vision and means that other road users have a clear view of you.
* If you are riding with protection around your face ensure that this does not restrict your head movement and that you are able to look around freely without restriction so that safety checks can be carried out.
* If you’re riding with your family, help motorists overtake you with the safe distance of 1.5 metres by filtering down to single file.
* Effectively communicate with other road users, by using hand signals when turning left or right. Try to make eye contact with other road users and pedestrians to ensure that they have seen you.
Police are asking drivers:
· Follow the latest government guidelines around Covid-19, stay at home and only drive for essential purposes. These can be found here
· Slow down and take extra care around these vulnerable road users giving them extra space and time.
· Always expect the unexpected around each corner, and pass cyclists at a minimum distance of 1.5 metres when it is safe to do so, particularly on left hand bends.
· Take extra care around cyclists (and other vulnerable road users) at junctions where three quarters of cyclist collisions happen.
Click here for more information about safe cycling.