The Department of Transport has launched a Think Campaign for cyclists and motorists – similar to the Think campaign used for motorcyclists. Cycling is relatively safe, but according to the D o T still has the second highest KSI rate per billion passenger miles travelled of any road user group. (death rates per bn km)
A good thing about the campaign is pointing out that cyclists are often motorists and motorists are often cyclists. A press release said “With 80% of cyclists holding a driving licence, and 1 in 5 drivers cycling at least once a month , they’re often the same people.” It’s good to have laws and pieces of advice, but the most effective transport behaviour is when road users have empathy and concern for everyone else on the road.
The Think Principles
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 advance 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
Added by Me
- Dept of Transport advise the best position for a cyclist on the road is 1 metre (3 feet) from the edge of the curb.
- Avoid beeping a cyclist who happens to be cycling in a similar position on the road. Cyclists are not compelled to be in the gutter.
- When overtaking the highway code states giving as much room as you would passing a car. This means you may have to wait for an appropriate moment and not squeeze past at existing speed.
- When overtaking it may be necessary to slow down to a safer speed which is less threatening to cyclists.
- Be prepared to come across cyclists even on rural roads, where you might not be expecting them.
- Drive in a manner appropriate for conditions. The speed limit is not a target, but maximal permissible. ‘Sorry I didn’t see you mate‘, is no good to the cyclist who gets knocked over.
- If a cyclist can touch your car when you are overtaking, that means you are too close.
- Give space to all cyclists – even if they are wearing lycra and cycling fast.
- Concentrate on driving, don’t get distracted by mobile phones e.t.c.
- Don’t overtake a cyclist just before you turn left, the cyclist may not be able to break as powerfully as you.
- Be careful of cutting corners and driving on the wrong side of the road.
- 20mph zones are good for encouraging more liveable cities. Don’t ignore just because it feels too slow.
- Bear in mind, cyclists and pedestrians are vulnerable because they have no metal box to protect them. Always imagine you are the cyclist on the road.
- Don’t judge all cyclists as one homogenous lump. Just as you wouldn’t want to be judged in the same boat as a drink driver.
- If you run over a cyclist, a helmet doesn’t really make any difference. Don’t get annoyed if a cyclists doesn’t have a helmet on concentrate on driving safely.
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
Added by me
- Don’t get intimidated if motorists beep you from riding positively and well clear of the kerb.
- Don’t take unnecessary risks
- Always be vigilant and expect the unexpected.