Drivers and cyclists urged to look out for each other as darker nights approach
Written by Jane Lythgoe on 23 November 2020
Cyclists and motorists are being urged to be more courteous and to look out for each other in a new road safety campaign
The latest push by the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership is reminding cyclists to ‘Be safe, be seen’, and drivers to ‘Be safe, give space’ to cyclists.
The campaign launches ahead of the clocks going back on Sunday 25 October 2020.
Drivers are being asked to be more aware of cyclists and to allow extra time and space for them to manoeuvre safely, especially at roundabouts, junctions and when turning. The Highway Code states 1.5m is a safe passing distance when overtaking cyclists at 30mph.
Cyclists should also make sure both they and their bikes are prepared for the colder, darker rides by using the correct lights, wearing bright or high-vis clothing to ensure they can be seen and always wearing a helmet which could help prevent a serious injury.
David Williams, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport at Staffordshire County Council said: “Staffordshire has some of the safest roads in the country, which is a record we are extremely proud of and have worked hard to achieve.
“With so many vehicles and cyclists now on our roads, it is important for everyone to be considerate and respectful of other road users whether that is on a bicycle or in a vehicle. By being courteous and following the rules of the road we can all help to reduce the number of accidents and make our roads even safer.
“With the darker evenings and wintery weather upon us too, people really need to drive and ride according to the conditions and make sure they are visible to each other. There’s lots of useful advice on the partnership website and I would encourage people to have a look.”
Keen cyclist Paul Lowton, aged 40 is supporting the campaign. Paul said: “Whether we like it or not, cyclists and drivers have to share the road. I feel a lot more confident setting out on a ride when I know that I have the right kit, and drivers will be able to see me easily. We should all take the time to learn more about sharing the road with other users, to keep everyone safe.”
Regular driver and friend of Paul, Nick Jones is also backing the campaign. Nick said: “This campaign has highlighted for me the importance of overtaking cyclists safely and has given me a better understanding of how cyclists use the road. I’m much more aware of cyclists on my daily commute now.”
Daniel Jellyman, Cabinet Member for regeneration, infrastructure and heritage at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “Public highways are there for everyone and we should all respect every road user’s right to travel in safety. I still see some cyclists on the road when it is dark with no lights on, and that terrifies me because it is an accident waiting to happen. On the other hand I also witness motorists driving past cyclists far too closely, when if they just waited another 10 or 20 seconds, they would be able to pass much more safely. Winter is coming and we need drivers to be more aware of cyclists, and cyclists to make sure they are wearing all the right equipment and are lit up brighter than a Christmas tree.
“Road safety is one of our top priorities and we’re continually working with partners in neighbouring councils and the emergency services to reduce road casualties in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. Thankfully our roads have a good safety record when compared against other areas nationally due to all the hard work we put in and we’re determined to keep it that way.”
The campaign includes a series of social media posts, tips and resources for drivers and cyclists, and people are being asked to share the content with friends, family and work colleagues.
More information on the campaign and tips on staying safe on the roads can be found at www.staffssaferroads.co.uk/cyclist-driver-safety.