If I were to say to my husband ‘Beware of Bikes!’ I know I would probably get a very rude response, due to the responsibility and education of being a road user always seems to be directed at the car driver and not the motorcyclist or pedal bike rider and I myself have an issue with some cyclists thinking the rules of the road do not apply to them, as they drive through red lights, ride in pairs and chat on narrow roads and weave in and out of the traffic.
Alas, I can’t do anything about this, the only thing I can do is keep to mind the more erratic nature of some cyclists on our roads, think about their vulnerability-as I am in a metal box driving along and they are surrounded only by the sweet smell of fresh air and so are far more likely to be seriously hurt if I crash into them or they into me. So I remind myself no matter what I think or sometimes feel about this emotive subject, all I can do is take responsibility about how I act around the cyclists whilst I am driving.
As we are well into Autumn, the mornings are darker and the evenings draw in pretty quickly I thought this is prime opportunity to share some tips given by Gov.UK on how to deal with motorbikes/cyclists when a road user and a few tips for motorcyclists/cyclist if you are both.
THINK! is working in partnership with Transport for London (TfL) to extend TFL’s ‘Tips’ campaign to other cities in the UK.
The campaign consists of a series of tips, developed to educate and remind drivers and cyclists about the correct way to drive and ride, and reduce the number of collisions on the road.
THINK! advice for when you’re driving
1) Look out for cyclists, especially when turning – make eye contact if possible so they know you’ve seen them
2) Use your indicators – signal your intentions so that cyclists can react
3) Give cyclists plenty of space when over taking them, leaving as much room as you would give a car. 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
4) Always check for cyclists when you open your car door
5) Advanced stop lines allow cyclists to get to the front and increase their visibility. You must stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows
6) Follow the Highway Code including ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights
THINK! advice for when you’re cycling
1) 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
2) Avoid riding up the inside of large vehicles, like lorries or buses, where you might not be seen
3) Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor
4) Wearing light coloured or reflective clothing during the day and reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark increases your visibility
5) 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
Take longer to look for bikes
Injuries to motorcyclists are out of proportion to their presence on our roads. Motorcyclists are just 1% of total road traffic, but account for 19% of all road user deaths.
1) Motorcyclists are roughly 38 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than car occupants, per mile ridden
2) In 2013, 331 motorcyclists died and 4,866 were seriously injured in road collisions in Great Britain.
3) Motorcyclist KSIs have fallen since 2008 when 493 motorcyclists were killed and 5,556 were seriously injured on Britain’s roads.
4) 30 motorcyclists are killed or injured every day at junctions
THINK! advice for motorcyclists
The following tips will help keep you and other road users safe.
Riding defensively makes you less vulnerable
Make sure you:
1) anticipate the actions of others
2) are alert and observant
3) can slow down and stop if the unexpected happens
4) position yourself in the safest and best place to maximise your visibility of potential hazards
5) take a ‘lifesaver’ glance over your shoulder before carrying out manoeuvres, so you know where others are and what they’re doing
Consider further skills training to improve your performance and safety on the road
Wear the right gear
Fall off your bike and tarmac will shred through your jeans in seconds. Wearing the right gear is just as important to your safety as servicing your motorcycle and knowing how to ride it.
1) Wear bright or florescent gear during the day and reflective gear at night
2) Bikers must wear a protective jacket, gloves, boots and trousers
Choosing the right helmet could help save your life
The SHARP rating system helps you understand how much protection a helmet offers in a crash.
THINK! advice for drivers
Here are a few simple ways of avoiding crashes with motorcyclists:
THINK! take longer to look for bikes:
Look carefully for motorbikes when you pull out at a junction. If you’re approaching a junction, look out for motorcyclists pulling out too.
Keep your distance
Driving too close can intimidate a less experienced motorcyclist.
Check for bikes when changing lanes
A motorcyclist may be in the space you want to move into, or moving into it fast. Remember your blind spot.
Check for bikes when turning
Parked cars or large vehicles can obstruct your view of a motorcyclist.
Motorcyclists might pass you on either side
Double-check for motorcyclists, whether you’re turning left or right.
Check for motorcyclists before opening your car door – and ensure that your passengers do the same. When you pull away, remember to look specifically for motorcyclists as they can accelerate faster than cars.