Sharing the road with cyclists
Cycling is acknowledged as an excellent way to get in better shape – and stay that way. It’s a message that appears to be getting through to more and more people, and figures show there has been an increase in cycling every year since 20081.
Unfortunately, the number of cycling accidents has also increased, and the summer months are the peak time for these accidents2, when the weather is good and large numbers of cyclists are out and about, either commuting, competing or simply enjoying a leisurely ride.
GEM chief executive David Williams MBE says: “We believe there are two really important actions drivers can take immediately to reduce the risk to themselves and to cyclists. First, to accept that we’re all on the road with the intention of trying to arrive somewhere safely. Second, to be more observant on journeys, because ‘failing to look properly’ is the most common contributory factor recorded by police in a collision involving a bicycle and another vehicle.
“By taking these actions, and by committing to a courteous driving style at all times, we will play our part in making the roads safer – for ourselves and for cyclists, who are after all much more likely to be hurt in any collision.”
GEM offers five simple tips to promote safety for drivers and cyclists:
• Remember above all that everyone on the road is trying to get somewhere safely. Do everything you can to play your part and you’ll be contributing to a safer road environment.
• Good observation is key, especially at junctions. This, combined with patience, helps ensure safer journeys for drivers and riders. As drivers, we should try to defuse tension, not increase it.
• Don’t stress when a cyclist performs a risky or illegal manoeuvre, and certainly don’t make any attempt to rebuke someone whose riding behaviour offends you. And don’t assume that if one cyclist does something dangerous, then all cyclists do it.
• Cyclists are entitled to the full lane of a road, not just the extreme left part. They need to manoeuvre round hazards such as potholes or drains, so be sure to anticipate this and give the space they need to stay safe.
• Give cyclists plenty of space when you pass – ideally as much space as you would give when overtaking another car. Avoid squeezing past or starting an overtaking manoeuvre when you can’t see far enough ahead to know you can complete it safely.
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