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Helping cyclists stay safe this spring

With spring now upon us and mornings and evenings becoming ever lighter, many of us may be thinking it’s time to dig the bike out of the shed and start cycling more. We are all aware of the health benefits of regular cycling as well as the wider benefits to the environment and other road users that come with a reduction in car traffic.

Yet, UK cycle rates remain low with only 15% of people in the UK cycling at least once a month.

Perhaps the main reason for the low number of people cycling is a concern around safety. 100 cyclists were killed and 3,237 seriously injured in 2015 . Cyclists reported concern about their safety in the 2015 Sustrans Bike for life survey where 71% of respondents reported feeling that their local area was not safe for cycling.

More recently, hundreds of cyclists protested in central London after three cyclists and two pedestrians were killed in London is a single week in February this year. Even more concerning is the percentage of cyclists killed on rural roads with rural roads accounting for 58% of cycling deaths , despite only carrying 32% of cycle traffic.

Given these statistics and that cyclist fatalities seem to receive more coverage in the news than other transport casualties, it is easy to see why cycle rates remain low.

Clearly action is needed to improve both real and perceived safety for cyclists and other vulnerable road users.

Increasing awareness of the hazards cyclists face with campaigns such as Think!’s latest cycling campaign , which includes advice for both drivers and cyclists, and police cycle safety schemes such as the operation in Birmingham. This scheme involves undercover police on bikes have been pulling over drivers who pass too close, will help road users to treat others with respect while keeping themselves safe.

Dedicated cycle lanes are another way to address both real and perceived danger for cyclists. The Netherlands is frequently held up as the gold standard for safe cycling due to their 35,000km of cycle paths. Efforts to increase the number of cycle lanes in the UK are ongoing. For example, the cycle superhighways being rolled out in London and new cycle routes planned across the country. This month alone new routes have been announced for Oxfordshire , Wakefield , and Weston-super-Mare.

We at Clearview have worked to improve safety on many cycle paths, including a recent installation of solar powered road studs to light the way on the new cycle path alongside the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway . The path connects St Ives with the north of Cambridge, and Cambridge Rail Station with Trumpington Park & Ride and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. SolarLite Active Road Studs were installed on this path to help users to clearly see the path edges, both on the outside edge of the path and adjacent to the bus guidance tracks.

While clearly lighting the path, and delineating the edges of it, these SolarLite studs do not require any wiring, trenching, or electricity supply and there are no operational costs due to the use of solar power. There is no requirement for additional street furniture so the studs are less visibly and physically intrusive.

Other beneficiaries of this technology include residents in Dundee following the addition of SolarLite road studs on two parts of the Dundee Greenways cycle network to provide cyclists with clearer and more defined guidance of the path ahead. Edinburgh also has an installation of SolarLite road studs on a 2.5km stretch of the Union Canal towpath where the towpath is close to the water’s edge and users reported safety concerns.

In built up areas or where cyclists need to use the main roads we have developed a wireless bicycle detector that can operate as part of the traffic light system. This allows cyclists to be safely incorporated into the traffic flow, instantly increasing their visibility and ensuring fair passage for all road users. These are just some of the solutions available to improve cycle safety. We believe that extending the cycle path network and implementing solutions to enhance cyclist safety will encourage more people to cycle regularly so they can make the most of the weather as well as the many other benefits of regular cycling.

Contact us to find out how we can help you to improve safety for cyclists on your network.

Author: Michelle C |Date Published: March 2017

Links: Route Safety Cycle Safety

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