St Austell Green Watch Cycling Awareness event

30 March 2018 Posted by

Pedal cyclists have been identified as a priority road user group both nationally and in Cornwall due to an increase in numbers of people cycling on the roads and the fact that they are vulnerable to injury: like motorcyclists and pedestrians, if they involved in a collision the chances of being injured is much higher than those in enclosed vehicles.

On Saturday the 24th February, Green Watch at St Austell Community Fire Station held a cycling awareness event at Halfords in St Austell to engage with drivers and cyclists to raise awareness of cyclist safety, focusing on the correct passing distances for vehicles overtaking cyclists.  Cyclists should be positioned 0.75metres from the kerb in order for them to avoid pot holes and drain covers, mud, puddles and being injured if a car door opened in front of them. For vehicles passing the cyclists they should allow at least 1.5m of space just in case the cyclists swerve out into the road to avoid a hazard or is blown by the wind unexpectedly.

Drivers were encouraged to look out for cyclists when driving on the road and give them plenty of space when overtaking,  cyclists were informed to ride defensively and be more visible on the road.  Visibility was a key topic where the Watch tested everyone’s understanding of the potentially short distances of seeing cyclists at night with no lights. Driving at 30mph at night a driver should expect to see a cyclist with dark clothing on when they were just 2 metres away which is a split second reaction time. With a cyclist in a white jacket this extends to only 30metres and a few seconds. But with a Hi-Viz jacket on this jumps to 100metres, making a dramatic improvement on being visible on the road.

All drivers spoken to agreed that the event had been informative and had certainly made them think about both looking out for cyclists more at night giving them at least 1.5 metres when passing them. Cyclists also agreed to consider their visibility more and ride more positively helping them improve their safety reducing the chances of having an incident.

All the motorist participants agreed that the short questionnaire had been informative and had certainly made them think about both looking out for cyclists more at night and would give them at least 1.5 metres when passing them. Cyclists also agreed that they needed to consider their visibility more and would ride more positively helping them improve their stability reducing the chances of having an incident.

Green Watch considered the initiative a great success and felt that all of the participants benefited from the information given by them. They would like to thank Halfords and the media for their support and the Prevention and Road Safety team for their valued assistance

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Research & Information Officer, Amethyst, Community Safety Team

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