Cyclists in one of the four cities selected to be standard-bearers for the Department of Transport's Think Cyclist campaign have slammed the advice given too drivers, saying it is 'too soft'.
There has been widespread criticism for the poster campaign, which failed to garner support from leading cycling organisations and is funded far less generously than the similar Think Bike campaigns for motorcyclists.
Cambridge, which has been chosen as one of the four target areas for the campaign, is home to the Cambridge Cycling Campaign group. They say that in the campaign documents, the blame for cycling accidents is apportioned evenly between cyclists and motorists.
Jim Chisholm, the organisation’s liaison officer, told the Cambridge News: “The consequences of aggressive behaviour with a motor vehicle are far greater than those on a bike or on foot”.
He said: “Clearly some crashes are caused by irresponsible cycling and, though these cases are sad, if there are serious injuries to the rider or an innocent driver suffers stress, they extremely rarely cause serious physical injury to others.
“Irresponsible driving creates orders-of-magnitude to more innocent victims, be they passengers in motor vehicles, or vulnerable road users on foot or on cycles.
“If we wish to reduce road casualties significantly, it is the actions and attitudes of those driving motor vehicles that must change.”
The CCC say that in Cambridge, 73 per cent of injuries to cyclists happen when the cyclists is continuing straight ahead, with most damage being caused by turning vehicles that 'haven't seen' the rider.
Despite misgivings on the part of cyclists, Councillor Martin Curtis, Cambridgeshire County Council’s spokesman for cycling, said: “We can all agree on the steps we can take on the road to look out for each other.
“It’s about a culture of mutual respect, and understanding the road from each other’s point of view.”
The campaign’s advice to motorists and cyclists respectively is:
When you’re driving
1. Look out for cyclists, especially when turning - make eye contact if possible so they know you’ve seen them
2. Use your indicators - signal your intentions so that cyclists can react
3. Give cyclists space – at least half a car’s width. If there isn’t sufficient space to pass, hold back. Remember that cyclists may need to manoeuvre suddenly if the road is poor, it’s windy or if a car door is opened.
4. Always check for cyclists when you open your car door
5. Avoid driving over advance stop lines – these allow cyclists to get to the front and increase their visibility
6. Follow the Highway Code including ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights
When you’re cycling
1. Ride positively, decisively and well clear of the kerb – look and signal to show drivers what you plan to do and make eye contact where possible so you know drivers have seen you.
2. Avoid riding up the inside of large vehicles, like lorries or buses, where you might not be seen
3. Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor
4. Wearing light coloured or reflective clothing during the day and reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark increases your visibility
5. Follow the Highway Code including observing ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights
6. THINK! recommends wearing a correctly fitted cycle helmet, which is securely fastened and conforms to current regulations
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.