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Coronavirus: More cyclists take to the road

Coronavirus: More cyclists take to the road

Published by May Norman at 6:55am 12th April 2020.

Rise in novice cyclists and drop in traffic prompts police to share safety message 

  • North Yorkshire Police is issuing a safety message as more people take to their bikes during the coronavirus lockdown.
  • The number of cyclists has increased due to quieter roads, better weather and lighter nights.
  • However, the force wants those heading out on two wheels adhere to the government restrictions on exercising close to home but doing so safely.

Police are sharing safety advice for cyclists after detecting more on the road as vehicle numbers dwindle.

It coincides with better weather and lighter nights, which typically means more people take to the road on two wheels.

Recent Cabinet Office data shows that UK traffic has fallen to 1955 levels following Covid-19 journey restrictions.

However, police are warning cyclists they still need to take safety seriously, as well as observing new rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Cyclists on the road

Government measures allow "one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household".

The government goes on to say: "When doing this you must minimise the time you are out of your home and stay at least two metres away from anyone else that isn't from your household."

Major Collision Investigation Sergeant Kirsten Aldridge said:

"While North Yorkshire roads are quieter, there are still lots of things cyclists need to be mindful of.

"Firstly, quieter roads have led to some drivers dramatically exceeding the speed limit. While we're trying to enforce this as widely as possible, it puts cyclists and pedestrians at significant risk.

"Secondly, the government measures make it clear that cyclists need to practice social distancing and should only ride alone or with people from the same household. Please remember that, as our officers are out on patrol ensuring people follow these rules.

"Finally, we'd remind drivers that they should always expect the unexpected around each corner, especially at the moment, and pass cyclists at a minimum distance of 1.5 metres when it is safe to do so."

North Yorkshire Police has also noticed that many new cyclists are taking to the road, including families with children who have started cycling as their one-a-day form of exercise.

Cyclists in a park

The force is sharing the following seven safety tips with novices:

    • Plan your journey in advance and advise someone of where you are going and when you intend to return, especially if you are cycling in a remote location.
    • If you are riding as a family with young children, consider riding routes with dedicated cycle paths to ensure the safety of young children and pedestrians. Please remember that if you are cycling on the roads that vehicles such as HGVs, are still regularly travelling routes in order to move much-needed supplies. Large vehicles might scare and unbalance young children on bicycles when overtaking them.
    • Ensure that your bicycle is road-worthy. If it has been unused for a while, ensure that the mechanisms such as brakes and gears are working and that tyres are pumped up before starting any ride. Brake failure can cause a serious collision.
    • Think about your positioning in the road and whether you can be seen by other road users. Wearing reflective clothing and ensuring that your bike is fitted with lights and/ or reflective discs helps with visibility. Assuming a position towards the centre of the lane where possible maximises the rider's line of vision and means that other road users have a clear view of you.
    • If you are riding with protection around your face ensure that this does not restrict your head movement and that you are able to look around freely without restriction so that safety checks can be carried out.
    • If you're riding with your family, help motorists overtake you with the safe distance of 1.5 metres, promoted by our Close Pass campaign, by filtering down to single file.
    • Effectively communicate with other road users, by using hand signals when turning left or right. Try to make eye contact with other road users and pedestrians to ensure that they have seen you.

Sgt Aldridge concluded:

"As long as people follow the government's rules about how they exercise and observe social distancing while they do it, we want to give people the knowledge they need to ride safely.

"North Yorkshire is a beautiful county with a strong cycling scene and 6,000 miles of roads.

"That's plenty of road for everyone if all road users stick to the law, take sensible precautions and look out for one another."