Police safety warning to cyclists tackling Yorkshire Tour de France routes, new app highlights hazards (+ video)

Ride within your limits, say North Yorkshire Police - safety drive follows serious incident earlier this month

by Simon_MacMichael   April 19, 2014  

Ride the Routes smartphone app

Cyclists heading to Yorkshire to experience some of the roads the Grand Départ of the Tour de France will follow this summer are being told by police to ride within their limits and be aware of potential hazards, while a smartphone app has also been launched that includes videos of particularly difficult sections.

The safety warning from police follows an incident on 5 April, near Bainbridge in Wensleydale, which left a 48-year-old man from the Bradford area with multiple injuries including to his spine, pelvis and chest. He was taken to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough by air ambulance

The advice also follows the recent launch of a smartphone app that includes videos pointing out particularly difficult sections of the routes of the first two stages of the race, from Leeds to Harrogate and from York to Sheffield.

Among the dangers highlighted by police are the region’s steep and winding descents, seen as posing a risk to inexperienced riders in particular, as well as cattle-grids, sheep and other wildlife in the road, mud from agricultural vehicles, loose gravel and undefined kerb lines.

The exact circumstances of the crash have not been disclosed, but following a second collision this month involving a cyclist, police are now distributing leaflets and posters to cycle businesses and cafés popular with riders throughout the Yorkshire Dales to get their safety message across.

Traffic Sergeant John Lumbard from North Yorkshire Police's Roads Policing Group, said: "With the roads likely to get busier and busier with cyclists over the next few months it is important that we try and prevent any further casualties.

"The narrow country roads and steep hills in the Dales can be very challenging, even to experienced riders, and it is vital that cyclists are aware of this before they visit North Yorkshire.

"It is not uncommon for long straights or steep descents to be followed by tight bends or t-junctions and it is imperative that cyclists have the skills and knowledge to negotiate these obstacles. Please ride within your limits and don't ride beyond your capabilities.

"Bike maintenance is also an important consideration and well maintained brakes are vital if you need to stop suddenly when going down a steep hill at speed.

"Wearing a helmet could save your life, so please wear one and ensure you carry enough kit to help you deal with any change in weather conditions," he added.

Safer Roads Yorkshire and Humber recently launched a free app for iOS and Android devices aimed at novice cyclists and those with less experience of riding in rural areas, called Cycle Yorkshire: Ride the Routes.

The app provides safety advice and route information on the two stages of the race in Yorkshire, from Leeds to Harrogate and York to Sheffield.

It includes videos that highlight particularly difficult sections of some routes, in some cases using flythrough maps as in the first example below, while the second follows Team Hope’s Jamie Sharp on the descent of Kidstones Bank.

route 1.4 flyover from City of York Council on Vimeo.

route 01 video 07 from City of York Council on Vimeo.

You can find all the videos here.

Honor Byford, team leader for road safety and travel awareness at North Yorkshire County Council said: "We are working in partnership with British Cycling to bring a host of free cycling opportunities to the county through their Sky Rides programme.

"Together our shared commitment and passion for cycling is inspiring people to get on their bikes and it's great to see. We are all keen to encourage cycling and to provide people with the information they need to get back on their bikes and to do so safely.

"We would urge clubs and informal groups and friends who are looking to cycle all or part of the route to take ten minutes to plan ahead for every eventuality. The more experienced riders have an important role in looking out for the less experienced, less confident and, perhaps, less fit riders within their group.

"Cycles need to be in good condition, recently checked brakes, tyres etc. Human and cycle maintenance are equally important on these demanding routes. More tips and information about the routes are available from our website and by downloading our app," she added.

19 user comments

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All seems fair enough. The one safety aspect they apparently do not mention at all is riders being put at risk by inconsiderate or careless drivers.

posted by HarrogateSpa [81 posts]
19th April 2014 - 18:32

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Perhaps to not discourage potential visitors to Yorkshire.

It's not an app about the hazards of cycling per say, but for the hazards of the TDF route in the area. It makes a lot of sense as it makes scouting the area very easy. I know if I were going to ride the route I'd be using this so I know what potential hazards there will be.

posted by Cycle_Jim [281 posts]
19th April 2014 - 18:54

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Why does every thread on safety have to include an unnecessary comment about 'inconsiderate' car drivers?

I ride my bike and I drive a car. I'm not perfect at either. I imagine the same goes for the vast majority of visitors to this site. Riding and driving are not mutually exclusive!

The average driver does not have it in for cyclists. From speaking to non-cycling friends what really gets up their noses are holier than thou cyclists believing they own the road and are being persecuted by car drivers.

Why can't we all accept that (a) we all make mistakes at some point; (b) some drivers AND some cyclists are idiots; (c) we both have a right to use the road.

Life would be so much more pleasant.

posted by charliepalooza [16 posts]
19th April 2014 - 21:03

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charliepalooza wrote:
Why does every thread on safety have to include an unnecessary comment about 'inconsiderate' car drivers?

I ride my bike and I drive a car. I'm not perfect at either. I imagine the same goes for the vast majority of visitors to this site. Riding and driving are not mutually exclusive!

The average driver does not have it in for cyclists. From speaking to non-cycling friends what really gets up their noses are holier than thou cyclists believing they own the road and are being persecuted by car drivers.

Why can't we all accept that (a) we all make mistakes at some point; (b) some drivers AND some cyclists are idiots; (c) we both have a right to use the road.

Life would be so much more pleasant.

Must say, i agree. i think the problem is that some idiotic and very vocal drivers do have a vendetta so go OTT.

We all need to be more thoughtful of others and accept we all make mistakes

posted by SB76 [80 posts]
19th April 2014 - 21:14

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charliepalooza wrote:
Why does every thread on safety have to include an unnecessary comment about 'inconsiderate' car drivers?

I ride my bike and I drive a car. I'm not perfect at either. I imagine the same goes for the vast majority of visitors to this site. Riding and driving are not mutually exclusive!

The average driver does not have it in for cyclists. From speaking to non-cycling friends what really gets up their noses are holier than thou cyclists believing they own the road and are being persecuted by car drivers.

Why can't we all accept that (a) we all make mistakes at some point; (b) some drivers AND some cyclists are idiots; (c) we both have a right to use the road.

Life would be so much more pleasant.

This.

posted by thatkidduffy [4 posts]
19th April 2014 - 22:39

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charliepalooza wrote:
Why does every thread on safety have to include an unnecessary comment about 'inconsiderate' car drivers?

That's because most of accidents involving cyclists are caused by drivers but typically leaflets and campaigns are aimed at cyclists (usually vicitms).

charliepalooza wrote:
...From speaking to non-cycling friends what really gets up their noses are holier than thou cyclists believing they own the road and are being persecuted by car drivers...

Majority of non-cycling individuals believe that riding two abreast or taking the lane as a part of defensive cycling is illegal or antisocial. I bet your friends are no different. Comments on many articles about cycling in non-cycling press leave no doubt who really believes that they own the roads...

charliepalooza wrote:
Why can't we all accept that (a) we all make mistakes at some point; (b) some drivers AND some cyclists are idiots; (c) we both have a right to use the road.

Speeding, overtaking on blind bends/hills, texting, close dangerous overtakes ARE NOT "mistakes". They are examples of inconsiderate and dangerosus driving that kills and seriously injure people.

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [172 posts]
20th April 2014 - 2:50

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Seen 2 class manoeuvres yesterday.

1) single track road, approaching another cyclist coming the other way, 60 yards apart, long straight road, female driving a 4x4 overtakes in between us, I wondered who was getting brushed.....it was me, but I eyeballed her, so she brushed the other guy instead, he was easier to ignore, I got about a foot, he got about an inch, no one came off.

2) descending a steep hill, 35mph, car overtakes, pull in and brakes hard, he can't take the bends at 35 and I can, spent the next 2 miles wearing my rims out trying to stay off the idiots bumper, another car was behind me or I would have tried to pull a big gap to ride into.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [480 posts]
20th April 2014 - 7:04

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There is am issue in the summer months in North Yorkshire where I am of drivers unfamilar with roads which are narrow, steep or contain a diversity of human and animal users on foot/bike/horse/motorbike/tractor and which therefore require a constant negotiation and judgement which they don't need to drive around the M25. Rather than inconsiderate drivers per se as discussed above therefore this safety leaflet should probably include the advice 'be wary of anything with a roof box' .

Northernbike's picture

posted by Northernbike [118 posts]
20th April 2014 - 7:36

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Great idea, and I'd certainly use it.
Perhaps some additional advice on being wary of traffic that may not know the roads or may do something unexpected would be appropriate (rather than "watch out for those useless bastard drivers").

posted by BikeBud [96 posts]
20th April 2014 - 9:16

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BBB wrote:
That's because most of accidents involving cyclists are caused by drivers but typically leaflets and campaigns are aimed at cyclists (usually vicitms).
I'm not sure there is really any evidence of this.

BBB wrote:
...Majority of non-cycling individuals believe that riding two abreast or taking the lane as a part of defensive cycling is illegal or antisocial.
But not dropping to one abreast when there is a huge tailback forming and it's perfectly safe to do so is antisocial.

BBB wrote:
Speeding, overtaking on blind bends/hills, texting, close dangerous overtakes ARE NOT "mistakes". They are examples of inconsiderate and dangerosus driving that kills and seriously injure people.
You're right they are but so is riding on the pavement, jumping lights etc etc.

I wasn't looking for an argument with my post just pointing out that the defensive attitude of some cyclists harms our cause more than promotes it.

posted by charliepalooza [16 posts]
20th April 2014 - 9:35

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Those who bring the most danger to others have the greater responsibility. I'd rather be hit by a cyclist riding at 30mph than by a car at 30mph. The forces are totally different.

Although the average driver may not 'have it in for cyclists' a driving 'mistake' is more likely to kill than a cycling mistake, and the person killed is more likely to be someone who didn't make the mistake.

There is no 'right' to drive, there is a right to cycle.

posted by teaboy [149 posts]
20th April 2014 - 10:23

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charliepalooza wrote:
Why does every thread on safety have to include an unnecessary comment about 'inconsiderate' car drivers?

I ride my bike and I drive a car. I'm not perfect at either. I imagine the same goes for the vast majority of visitors to this site. Riding and driving are not mutually exclusive!

The average driver does not have it in for cyclists. From speaking to non-cycling friends what really gets up their noses are holier than thou cyclists believing they own the road and are being persecuted by car drivers.

Why can't we all accept that (a) we all make mistakes at some point; (b) some drivers AND some cyclists are idiots; (c) we both have a right to use the road.

Life would be so much more pleasant.

Bland 'both sides are as bad as each other' stuff ignores the fact that bad drivers threaten my life and impair my freedom of movement - as a pedestrian as well as a cyclist - and bad cyclists don't (though I will occasionally moan about them from a pedestrian perspective).

As for 'thinking they own the road' - what a ridiculous comment!
What colour is the sky on your planet if its cyclists who think they own the roads there?

Motorists are absolutely convinced they not only own the road but much of the pavement as well (which is why they park on it all the time). Apparently they also own the air I have to breath.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [639 posts]
20th April 2014 - 13:42

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charliepalooza wrote:
BBB wrote:
That's because most of accidents involving cyclists are caused by drivers but typically leaflets and campaigns are aimed at cyclists (usually vicitms).
I'm not sure there is really any evidence of this.

Here is some evidence.

"A tiny proportion of accidents involving cyclists are caused by riders jumping red lights or stop signs, or failing to wear high-visibility clothing and use lights, a government-commissioned study has discovered."
"With adult cyclists, police found the driver solely responsible in about 60%-75% of all cases, and riders solely at fault 17%-25% of the time."

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/dec/15/cycling-bike-acciden...

And here's some more.

"The City of Westminster has revealed that more than two thirds of collisions between motor vehicles and cyclists within its boundaries in the past year that resulted in injury to the rider were due to some factor associated with the driver, compared to one in five cases where the cause was attributed to the rider. It has also disclosed that in three in five incidents involving a cyclist and a pedestrian, it’s the latter to whom responsibility is apportioned.

The data have been revealed in an analysis of road casualty data contained in the London borough’s draft Cycling Plan for 2013-2026, "

http://road.cc/content/news/83104-two-thirds-cyclist-injuries-following-...

There is also an AA study which says that it is usually the motorist's fault.

posted by felixcat [204 posts]
20th April 2014 - 14:43

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charliepalooza wrote:

The average driver does not have it in for cyclists. From speaking to non-cycling friends what really gets up their noses are holier than thou cyclists believing they own the road and are being persecuted by car drivers.

whilst Id agree the average driver doesnt have it in for cyclists as such, theres a big difference between driving around giving us the bare minimum consideration to not to hit us, and actually driving to be safe around us, and I dont think alot of average drivers appreciate that.

I was out on one of those country roads earlier in the weekend thats part of the course for the tour this summer, and it felt really uncomfortable on safety levels to be cycling,not because of the road hazards, but because it just didnt feel safe mixing it with the local traffic, I was literally expecting to be collected by every car that passed, because they werent slowing down for me, half the overtakes the cars didnt even attempt to cross the centre line when they had the room to, and I had several force overtakes across solid white lines as they headed straight for oncoming traffic coming the other way.

cycling is meant to be enjoyable, I do it because its fun,not to scare myself silly and feel like Im dicing with death.

posted by Awavey [10 posts]
20th April 2014 - 22:17

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It may be off topic, but as I posted about unsafe driving, may I thank the lady who stopped her car and collected my bottles for me when they got ejected on a rough section of road.

Saved a walk in my cleats, thanks.

And to the gentleman who recognised and observed I was faster through the lanes downhill than his car, and pulled into a passing place and waved me through.

Unfortunately I was on someone else's tail half a mile later who didn't do the same and kept brake testing me.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [480 posts]
21st April 2014 - 10:07

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What a boring argument, we've not been here before have we?

Personally, I'm not sure I'd want to ride the TdF roads - they're the main A roads and stuff because that's what you need to stick to when you've got 200 riders plus a miles-long convoy of cars and trucks. Our club tried it, and end up amending the route so we could stick to B roads and picturesque hills. We had the best weekend ever on bikes, but I wouldn't bet on it being the same if we'd tried it on the busier roads.

Oh, and just for balance, thanks to the lady that was sufficiently switched on to brake and allow me extra space when my speed exceeded my skills coming Long Hill once.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2953 posts]
22nd April 2014 - 10:10

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charliepalooza wrote:
BBB wrote:
You're right they are but so is riding on the pavement, jumping lights etc etc.

No, and that's the difference - riding on the pavement, jumping lights etc DOES NOT kill or seriously injure people. In many cases it's a rational and safe response to infrastructure that simply doesn't take account of the needs of anyone who isn't in a motor vehicle.

We can provide you a long list of 'safety' campaigns and they all overwhelmingly place the responsibility and the focus of their message on cyclists and not on drivers.

posted by SimonS [6 posts]
22nd April 2014 - 11:53

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Oh no, there's steep descents in Yorkshire, shock.

posted by J90 [78 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 23:07

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Quote:
Why does every thread on safety have to include an unnecessary comment about 'inconsiderate' car drivers?

I ride my bike and I drive a car. I'm not perfect at either. I imagine the same goes for the vast majority of visitors to this site. Riding and driving are not mutually exclusive!

The average driver does not have it in for cyclists. From speaking to non-cycling friends what really gets up their noses are holier than thou cyclists believing they own the road and are being persecuted by car drivers.

Why can't we all accept that (a) we all make mistakes at some point; (b) some drivers AND some cyclists are idiots; (c) we both have a right to use the road.

Life would be so much more pleasant.

I don't agree with this rant. I appreciate that there are considerate and careful drivers as well as the other type. The fact remains that the impatient and inconsiderate drivers are the biggest factor in making a bike ride be or feel unsafe. I won't ride the Stage 2 route, because the roads are too busy.

I don't think it's about making mistakes, I can accept an honest mistake - the problem comes with being impatient and inconsiderate. I'm not 'holier than thou', and I don't think I own the road.

Having said that, having watched some of the videos, I realise they can't deal with driver behaviour, other than to warn riders of where the busy sections are. Actually the videos are very good and very useful.

The road.cc article conflates 2 stories - the app, and an incident in which a cyclist was badly injured in a collision with a car on the Stage 1 route. I don't know who was at fault, and it's fine for the police to warn cyclists to be careful with leaflets, as long as it doesn't amount to an assumption that it's always the cyclist's fault in collisions with cars.

posted by HarrogateSpa [81 posts]
27th April 2014 - 8:28

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