Bike Smart campaign highlights safety risks

November 27 2018

SOUTH West drivers have been urged to be ‘Bike Smart’ as those on two wheels account for more than a third of the deaths and serious injuries on the region’s roads.

 The analysis marks the start of Road Safety Week (19–25 November), sponsored by Devitt Insurance Services and Ford, which this year urges people, particularly drivers, to be ‘Bike Smart’ to raise awareness about the safety of those on two wheels.  

The launch of Road Safety Week took place at Brunel Fields Primary School, Arthur Milton Street, on November 19. The launch saw road safety charity Brake, in association with Playing Out, host a street play session where the road outside the school was closed. This allowed pupils, their families and residents to enjoy cycling without fear of traffic and highlight how street play sessions can create safe, pollution-free spaces within communities so children can play and ride their bikes safely.

 Bike riders’ safety is being highlighted as part of national Road Safety Week with the 2018 theme ‘Bike Smart’. Brake is calling for drivers to be ‘Bike Smart’ by slowing down, giving more time to spot danger and react; looking properly for bikes before pulling out at junctions; leaving at least 150cm between cars and a bike when overtaking; and by doing the ‘Dutch reach’, using the opposite hand to open a car door to help avoid ‘car dooring’ incidents.

 More than a third (36%) of all deaths and serious injuries on roads in the South West in 2017 were bike riders - cyclists and motorcyclists. On average, a cyclist or motorcyclist is killed or seriously injured every hour, on British roads, with a total of 101 cyclist deaths and 349 motorcyclist death in 2017.

 Most drivers (52%) believe bikes are most vulnerable on urban roads, but rural roads pose three times the risk of a fatal crash.      

Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, said:

“Raising awareness across the South West about the safety of those on two wheels, who face much higher risk of death and serious injury than those in cars, is absolutely vital. We support the Government’s announcement of a review of the Highway Code to help keep cyclists safe and its stated focus on motorcyclists in the forthcoming road safety action plan. 

“Rural roads, with their high speeds, blind bends and few cycle routes, pose particular danger to those on two wheels. The Government’s announced focus on rural road user safety is welcome and we encourage the consideration of rural road speed and bike-safe infrastructure, such as segregated cycle lanes, in its plans.”