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Derbyshire Police launch website explaining how to drive around cyclists

Be patient, give them space... and beware of the teenagers, say police

Derbyshire Police Force have created a website outlining principles for driving around cyclists, with some sound advice for motorists.

The page notes that “it's worth proffering some safety advice to both drivers and cyclists who so often share the county's roads.”

While most of the advice is sensible in principle, drivers are curiously warned that although they are protected by a ‘metal cage’, cyclists “rely on basic bike safety precautions like helmets and knee and elbow pads”.

It goes on to warn drivers to be patient, saying: “90% of cyclist casualties in recent years were caused by careless inattention, firstly by drivers, secondly by cyclists.

“It’s your responsibility as a driver to avoid hitting the cyclist, not the responsibility of the cyclist to avoid getting hit by you.”

In a nod to the close pass initiatives being rolled out across the country, the website warns: “When overtaking a cyclist a driver is required to give them as much room as you would a car, where possible.

“Cyclists may need to swerve to avoid hazards. Drivers should always anticipate that there may be a pothole, oily, wet or icy patch or some other obstruction.”

It adds: “It may come as a surprise to most drivers but cyclists have as much right as drivers to take up the entire lane. You will often see cyclists riding side-by-side, and you, as a driver, may think they’re being selfish by doing so.

“But the fact is the cyclist is actually reducing the risk of having an accident; it’s the safest way for them to cycle, particularly if there’s a blind bend, a narrowing of the road, a high risk junction, pinch point or traffic lights ahead.”

In a final note, sure to irritate a certain breed of driver, the force says: “Groups of teenagers on bikes are becoming an increasing sight. Many may flaunt the basic road safety measures simply as a way of looking cool, nonchalant or carefree in front of their peers.

“They seldom wear helmets, and more often than not their bikes will not be equipped with lights in the dark. They may also ride erratically, either on or off the pavement. This makes them a serious worry for drivers, as their behaviour is often unpredictable.

“Be extra vigilant when driving near groups of cyclists of this nature.”

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.

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