11 February 2013

Northamptonshire County Council is backing a national campaign designed to increase safety for cyclists and encourage more people to travel by bike.

Called Think! Cyclist the initiative aims to increase the understanding between people using pedal power and those who choose other transport so that accidents can be avoided.

Part of the campaign focuses on how cyclists and motorists should be aware of each other while using the highway.

While another element concentrates on how pedestrians and cyclists can show mutual respect on shared footways and cycle-paths.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for infrastructure and public protection, said: “Cycling is becoming an increasingly popular mode of transport and is an enjoyable and healthy activity for all ages. People use their bikes for both leisure and for commuting and this is great news for the county in terms of reducing pollution and congestion.

“However cyclists can be very vulnerable when using the highway as obviously they are much smaller and lighter than cars and lorries, in particular.

“This campaign intends to use a common sense approach to ensure that everyone shows each other some awareness and respect so that accidents can be prevented.

“Showing each other courtesy and taking time to think about who else is on the road should hopefully make our highways and cycle routes safer for everyone.

“The council supports schemes which aim to promote safer bike travel on our roads, such as Bikeability which is aimed as school-aged cyclists.”

The campaign also reminds people that drivers and cyclists have more in common than is often realised. With 80 per cent of cyclists holding a driving licence, and one in five drivers cycling at least once a month, they are often the same people.

In addition, the county council is also launching the first edition of a quarterly cycling e-mail newsletter, which will contain tips on safer cycling and advice on a range of cycling themed aspects, plus information on future cycling events around the county.

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 space - at least half a car’s width. 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. Avoid driving over advanced stop lines - these allow cyclists to get to the front and increase their visibility.
  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.
  6. THINK! recommends wearing a correctly fitted cycle helmet, which is securely fastened and conforms to current regulations.