Drivers across the Humber region are being urged to look out for pedal cyclists as Safer Roads Humber expands its ‘Someone’s Son’ road safety campaign to include pedal power as well as motorcycling.
The award-winning campaign has been running since 2010 and is aimed mainly at motorists to look out for those on two wheels. During 2013, the campaign has been broadened out to include cyclists as well as motorcyclists as both types of riders are vulnerable on the roads. A new burst of radio adverts encourages motorists to drive considerately towards cyclists and explains why cyclists may move to the centre of the road when negotiating junctions and roundabouts.
Cyclists make up around one per cent of road traffic yet are involved in 13 per cent of injury crashes. The majority of crashes occur in urban areas, often in 30mph zones, around junctions and usually involve a bike and a car. The vast majority of rider casualties are male, who will be, by definition, someone’s son or husband or dad.
It is expected that the number of people cycling will increase over the coming years as people take up cycling for health and leisure reasons or switch to cycling for short trips to save money or be environmentally friendly. Safer Roads Humber is keen to make sure that the number of casualties doesn’t increase as the number of people cycling does.
Ruth Gore, spokesperson for Safer Roads Humber, said: “There’s a clear issue around drivers seeing cyclists in traffic and we hope this campaign will encourage drivers to look out for bikes and reduce the number of crashes. As the dark nights start to draw in, it is important that drivers take extra care to look out for those on two wheels.
“We recognise it’s not just about the driver though, riders need to make sure they give drivers a chance to see them by riding in a safe manner and wearing high visibility clothing. Cyclists need to use lights during the hours of darkness and adhere to the rules of the road.
“Most drivers, at some time, have ridden a pedal bike but for many people that may be decades ago. Cycle training has developed from the original cycling proficiency that many people may have taken. Today’s cyclists are taught to take up the ‘primary position’ in the middle of the road when approaching roundabouts and junctions. For the driver this may make them feel the cyclist is deliberately trying to slow them down but by making sure that the driver cannot get past them means the cyclist is protecting their road space and therefore protecting themselves from harm.”
Cyclists are more likely to be involved in a crash when they are turning left as drivers often fail to see them or underestimate the amount of space they need. The cyclist is taught to take up the primary road position as they turn to prevent cars overtaking them and coming to close.
A key part of the campaign is highlighting that cyclists are not unidentifiable humans hidden away under a bike helmet and riding gear but are people with family and friends who treasure them.
Ruth added: “Through this campaign we are hoping to remind drivers that riders are people just like them, trying to get to their destination safely. Our overriding message is to drive and ride safely and keep looking out for each other.”
The campaign uses the slogan “More than just a rider…someone’s son” and asks drivers to “check once, check twice, check for bikes.”