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Initiative follows big increase in motorcyclist fatalities and cyclists flocking to area ahead of Tour de France

A Think! Bike poster and billboard campaign has been launched in North Yorkshire to urge motorists to be watch out for those on bicycles and motorcycles.

Launched jointly by North Yorkshire County Council and North Yorkshire Police, the posters and advertising hoardings will be placed in towns in the area, as well as along routes popular with cyclists and motorcyclists, during May and June.

The first billboard has already been put up in Harrogate, which in July hosts the finish of Stage 1 of the Tour de France, and it’s partly in view of the increasing numbers of cyclists attracted to the area by the chance to ride the same roads as the pros that the campaign has been devised.

Councillor Don Mackenzie, who represents Harrogate on North Yorkshire County Council and is its executive member for public health, said: “It’s great to see people getting on their bikes to enjoy this beautiful county, take exercise and keep fit, but we want them to stay safe as well.

“This latest initiative aims to tackle the problem of driver error in road casualties involving cyclists and bikers.”

During 2013, there were 51 deaths as a result of road traffic collisions in North Yorkshire, a 60 per cent increase on the previous 12 months and the highest annual total in seven years.

In 2012, five motorcyclists were killed on the county’s roads, but that figure rose to 16 last year. Meanwhile, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured stood at 52 in 2013, five more than during the previous year.

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick of North Yorkshire Police said: “We are urging drivers, motorcyclists and people riding pedal cycles to pay attention, not only to their own behaviour, but also make themselves alert to other people using the roads.

“Vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclist should also ensure that they have the most appropriate protective and highly visible clothing and equipment.”

Earlier this month, the police force urged people looking to try out the Tour de France route on their bikes to ride within their limits after a man from Bradford was seriously injured in Wensleydale when he was involved in a crash.

A smartphone app for iOS and Android devices was also launched and uses video to highlight specific hazards on the roads the Tour de France will follow during its two days in Yorkshire.

Councillor Gareth Dodd, North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for road safety, said that groups of riders needed to plan ahead for ay contingency that might arise.

“The more experienced riders have a role in looking out for the less experienced, less confident and perhaps less fit riders in their group,” he said. “Cycles need to be in good condition with recently checked brakes and tyres.

He added: “All road users have a duty to travel with consideration and with other users in mind.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

12 comments

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ChairRDRF [308 posts] 2 years ago
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“Vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclist should also ensure that they have the most appropriate protective and highly visible clothing and equipment.”

Usual old hi-viz and lids, non-evidence based victim blaming ****. See http://rdrf.org.uk/2013/11/03/hi-viz-for-cyclists-and-pedestrians-the-ev... and http://rdrf.org.uk/2013/10/31/hi-viz-for-cyclists-and-pedestrians-sensib... on hi-viz and http://rdrf.org.uk/2013/12/27/the-effects-of-new-zealands-cycle-helmet-l... on lids.

Difference this time is that cyclists are lumped in with motorcyclists - quite different kinds of road user hurt and killed in different ways, although with motorised road users generally the issue.

(Motorcyclists more likely to be at fault with lots of going off carriageway incidents in rural areas, with high speed a factor in most cases in urban areas - and although I haven't checked recently, likely in rural areas as well; cyclists seem to be mainly motorists at fault. But typical motorists are implicated in a large chunk in both cases, and for pedestrians and other vehicle occupants as well)

Motorcycles are heavy and used at high speeds, hence posing problems to others that cyclists don't. (In fact, particularly in urban areas, motorcycles belong with other motorised vehicle's as sources of danger to pedestrians)

But then official "road safety" does not like to distinguish between endangering/hurting/killing others and being endangered/hurt/killed.

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mariekb1980 [5 posts] 2 years ago
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I ride in the dales and saw this so did a bit of reading as ive seen other things about, not suprising really cos the amount of cyclists up the dales now on a weekend has gone up massively.

You are correct that the majority of motorcyclist crashes are attributed to rider errors (75%) and they have dedicated campaigns to raise awareness of this, the biker cafes have a fair bit of stuff in them aswell. The council have analysed the cyclist casualty reports over the last 5 years and the evidence points to rider errors being the main cause in approximately 50% of cyclist crashes (fatal and serious injury)…this was in the local papers last week, and quite a bit of stuff on the radio. This is both in urban environments and rural roads. They have found that in many of the fatal and serious cyclist crashes in North Yorkshire, riding too fast downhill, riding too fast round bends, not heeding warning signs and lack of concentration/fatigue are major factors. Most the biker and cyclist crashes on rural roads happened when no other vehicle or road user was involved. It is for this reason that they grouped cyclists and motorcyclist together. They are both vulnerable road users and both get hit by car drivers.

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ChairRDRF [308 posts] 2 years ago
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There might well be cases in North Yorkshire where there are issues about fast descents, but on rural roads in flatter areas most cyclist collisions involve motor vehicles and not going off the road at speed, as do motorcycle incidents.

Also, particularly in urban areas there are big differences between cyclists and motorcyclists ability to hurt/kill others. And I am interested in urban areas principally, as that is where most cycling is done.

But in some rural areas like North Yorkshire, especially at this time with lots of newbies about on long descents with dry stone walls to run into, you have a point.

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freespirit1 [226 posts] 2 years ago
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Urban areas surely have the highest number of cyclists, though maybe not the greatest distances travelled.

Personally, as motorcyclist I do not go out with the intention to hurt/kill anyone as it could very easily be myself that I am hurting/killing.

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andyp [1448 posts] 2 years ago
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'Usual old hi-viz and lids, non-evidence based victim blaming ****'

Nothing of the sort.

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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freespirit1 wrote:

Urban areas surely have the highest number of cyclists, though maybe not the greatest distances travelled.

Personally, as motorcyclist I do not go out with the intention to hurt/kill anyone as it could very easily be myself that I am hurting/killing.

......but as a motorcyclist, rather than bleat on about infrastructure and danger and how everyone hates you, you've decided that while shit might happen, the buzz justifies the risk and you set off on each ride with a smile? I know I do.

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freespirit1 [226 posts] 2 years ago
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Exactly.

I still ride with the assumption that everyone on the road is a pillock except me!!

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felixcat [472 posts] 2 years ago
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allez neg wrote:

......but as a motorcyclist, rather than bleat on about infrastructure and danger and how everyone hates you, you've decided that while shit might happen, the buzz justifies the risk and you set off on each ride with a smile? I know I do.

Cycling should not be just an extreme sport for young men like you and the typical motorcyclist who enjoys a buzz. It should be a means of transport which gives freedom to everyone from a child to a pensioner. It should be a safe way to get to school or to the shops, giving pleasure and exercise without endangering others, clogging the roads, making the public highway a noisy smelly, unpleasant place or contributing to climate change. You seem to see it as an elite sport. That's fine, but it can be a lot more.
Why do you constantly characterise those cyclists who are not happy with the level of risk which you are, as "bleating" or "whining"? What is it about people wanting to go about their business safely that infuriates you?

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ChairRDRF [308 posts] 2 years ago
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felixcat wrote:
allez neg wrote:

......but as a motorcyclist, rather than bleat on about infrastructure and danger and how everyone hates you, you've decided that while shit might happen, the buzz justifies the risk and you set off on each ride with a smile? I know I do.

Cycling should not be just an extreme sport for young men like you and the typical motorcyclist who enjoys a buzz. It should be a means of transport which gives freedom to everyone from a child to a pensioner. It should be a safe way to get to school or to the shops, giving pleasure and exercise without endangering others, clogging the roads, making the public highway a noisy smelly, unpleasant place or contributing to climate change. You seem to see it as an elite sport. That's fine, but it can be a lot more.
Why do you constantly characterise those cyclists who are not happy with the level of risk which you are, as "bleating" or "whining"? What is it about people wanting to go about their business safely that infuriates you?

I second that

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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freespirit1 wrote:

Exactly.

I still ride with the assumption that everyone on the road is a pillock except me!!

I'll bite!!

When the opposite is true ; )

WBR ; )

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a.jumper [846 posts] 2 years ago
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Well done North Yorkshire for targeting a poster campaign at the right audience.

Next time can we have a bike rider who isn't a racer wannabe, please?

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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felixcat wrote:
allez neg wrote:

......but as a motorcyclist, rather than bleat on about infrastructure and danger and how everyone hates you, you've decided that while shit might happen, the buzz justifies the risk and you set off on each ride with a smile? I know I do.

Cycling should not be just an extreme sport for young men like you and the typical motorcyclist who enjoys a buzz. It should be a means of transport which gives freedom to everyone from a child to a pensioner. It should be a safe way to get to school or to the shops, giving pleasure and exercise without endangering others, clogging the roads, making the public highway a noisy smelly, unpleasant place or contributing to climate change. You seem to see it as an elite sport. That's fine, but it can be a lot more.
Why do you constantly characterise those cyclists who are not happy with the level of risk which you are, as "bleating" or "whining"? What is it about people wanting to go about their business safely that infuriates you?

Just saying it as a counterpoint to the tone of many comments on here of late, it's all been a bit preachy and evangelical and narrow focused - I could imagine that a casual visitor to the site would read the comments and form perhaps a distorted view of cyclists and / or this site as a result.

If you don't like the status quo regarding road safety and infrastructure, then I hope those commenting accordingly on here also make their views known to the various powers that be, join and help fund lobbying groups (CTC? BC? ) and play an active role in trying to effect change.