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Be Bike Smart this Road Safety Week

Nov 19, 2018

Each year, we support road safety charity Brake’s Road Safety Week campaign, and this year is no different.  Symron Bhakar, Personal Injury Claims Handler, discusses why their theme this year of being Bike Smart is such an important one and how we can all work together to be safer on our roads.

Why we should be Bike Smart

Cycling is promoted as the healthy way to commute and travel, not only for our bodies but also to reduce pollution levels.  With the number of cyclists increasing year on year, there has never been a better time to encourage safer roads, not only to keep those already cycling safe but to encourage others to take up this mode of transportation. 

Motorcyclists are unfortunately 38 times more likely to be killed in a crash than car occupants according to the Department for Transport.  While they travel the same speed as cars, they do not have the same protection in the form of air bags or side impact bars. 

“Road Safety Week this year runs from 19th to the 25th November, and we hope to play our part in raising awareness on how we can be safer on the roads for cyclists and motorcyclists,” begins Symron.  “More than 38,000 cyclists and motorcyclists are killed or injured on Britain’s roads every year, which is staggering when there are simple steps that can be taken by all of us to reduce the risk.”

How you can be Bike Smart

While the majority of the advice from Brake this year focusses on other road users, there are steps cyclists and motorcyclists themselves can take to stay safe.  Adopting safe riding behaviour such as not speeding or overtaking at inappropriate moments and also having the correct training and equipment are all ways that tragic collisions can be avoided.  This is particularly important at this time of year, and cyclists should equip themselves with the necessary lighting gear.

In order to promote awareness this week, Brake is promoting several useful tips to stay safe on the roads:

  1. Be aware at traffic lights – Before moving off from traffic lights, ensure that you give a cyclist in front or to the side of you plenty of time to pull away when the light changes and do not overtake unless it is safe to do so.
  2. Minimise distractions – we are all aware of the dangers associated with using our mobile phones behind the wheel, and there are now tougher penalties in place for those who are caught.  Other distractions that could impact our reaction time when responding to hazards would be eating, drinking and fatigue.
  3. Be patient – while it may be frustrating to be stuck behind a cyclist, only overtake when it is safe to do so.  Do not overtake on a corner or if there is a car approaching; you may think you have time to overtake safely, but it is never worth the risk.  If it is safe to overtake never travel too fast passed the cyclist and leave enough room; at least 150cm is the recommended space to leave between your vehicle and the cyclist.  Being patient is also important at a junction; before pulling out make sure you have taken enough time to confirm there are no oncoming bike users.
  4. Consider the speed of the cyclist – cyclists can travel faster than a driver expects so you must evaluate how fast the cyclist could be travelling before you turn a corner.  If you are ever in doubt as to whether you can turn in time, it is better to wait. 
  5. Think about what happens next – even if it is safe to overtake a cyclist, always consider your next move.  If you can overtake but will then need to immediately slow down to turn a corner, it is always safer to stay behind the cyclist. 
  6. Stay vigilant – cyclists can be hard to spot, particularly if you are travelling behind a larger vehicle.  Paying close attention to your surroundings and remaining alert will mean you have enough time to slow down for any unexpected hazards.
  7. Think before you open your door – it is possible to injure a cyclist just by opening your car door if you have not looked to see if anyone is approaching.  One useful tip is to open your car door with your opposite hand as this will mean you need to look behind you as you turn.

Symron concludes, “We see on a regular basis the impact a road collision can have, from whiplash to serious life changing injuries.  We see Road Safety Week as an important event in our calendar to raise awareness of how we can stay safe for each other.  Most of the suggestions here are simply to have more consideration for other road users; something that can be hard to do at times, but so important when it can reduce the risk of leading to a tragic collision.”

For more information on Road Safety Week you can visit the Brake website and watch their video on being Bike Smart here.  Alternatively, if you have any questions for Symron or the Injury team on how they can support you following a road traffic collision, you can call 0800 91 92 30 or email injuryteamenquiry@warnergoodman.co.uk.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.