December 17, 2014

Staying safe on the roads this winter

Safe driving in winter

Figures revealed during Road Safety Week 2014 state that since fixed penalty notices for careless driving offences were introduced in August 2013, there have been 17,483 notices issued.

Careless driving is defined as either:

  • driving without due care and attention
  • driving without reasonable consideration for other road users
  • driving without due care and attention and without reasonable consideration for other road users.

Many of these offences relate to incidents between cyclists and car drivers. Rather than allowing these figures to continue to soar there are certain steps we can all take, particularly as winter approaches, to try to look out for each other on UK roads.

Advice for cyclists

If you are a cyclist then following these simple steps suggested by THINK! could help to minimise the chance of being involved in an accident this winter:

  1. Ride positively and precisely – you should cycle clear of the curb and look and signal to advise drivers what you are planning to do. Try to make eye contact with drivers where possible so that you know that they have seen you.
  2. Avoid riding up the inside of lorries, buses and other large vehicles where you may not be seen.
  3. Make sure that you have working lights on your bike both at the front and rear and that you use them after dark or when visibility is poor.
  4. Wear light coloured or reflective clothing when cycling during the day and reflective clothing and accessories in the dark to increase your visibility.
  5. The Highway Code applies to both vehicles and cyclists on the roads so please make sure you follow it including observing “Stop” and “Give Way” signs as well as traffic lights.
  6. Wear a correctly fitted cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations whenever you are out on your bike.

Advice for drivers

Although it may sometimes be difficult to predict the behaviour of cyclists on the roads, there are certain things you can do to minimise the risk of accidents:

  1. Look out for cyclists, particularly when you are turning.
  2. Use your indicators in plenty of time so that cyclists and other road users are aware of your intentions and can react.
  3. Give cyclists plenty of space when you overtake them. Try to leave as much room as you would give for a car, and if there isn’t sufficient space to pass, hold back.
  4. Always check for cyclists when you open your car door.
  5. Do not block the advanced stop lines at traffic lights as these spaces are there to allow cyclists to get to the front and increase their visibility.
  6. Follow the Highway Code including “Stop” and “Give Way” signs as well as traffic lights.
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