The safety of people on two wheels – whether motorbikes or bicycles – will be the theme of this year’s Road Safety Week, to be held from 19-25 November, with a central message of ‘Bike Smart’.
Co-ordinated by the road safety charity Brake, the annual event aims to raise awareness of road safety and thereby help reduce casualties on the country’s roads.
As Brake points out, both cyclists and motorbikers are among the most vulnerable groups of road users, with an average of 100 casualties per day according to official statistics and accounting for one in three people killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions.
Brake says that the week-long campaign later this year will target three specific groups of people:
cyclists and motorcyclists being Bike Smart through safe riding behaviours, appropriate training, clothing and equipment
drivers being Bike Smart by looking out for those on two wheels, driving safely and utilising the latest life-saving technologies in their vehicles
policy makers being Bike Smart by implementing a safe systems approach and designing segregated spaces for cyclists.
It’s far too early to predict what the execution will be, although the first target group does raise some sensitive issues if say the angle is taken that cyclists should wear helmets and reflective clothing.
Indeed, Brake has been criticised by cycling advocates and road safety campaigners in the past for the message it has put across during Road Safety Week, for example through appearing to place too much emphasis on the actions of vulnerable road users, as happened in 2014 when the theme was ‘Look Out For each Other’.
As in previous years, the charity will be working alongside campaigners, community organisations and road safety professionals, as well as companies and schools ahead of and during Road Safety Week.
The initiative is supported by funding from the Department for Transport, which is currently holding a two-part review into cycle safety, with a consultation open until 1 June.
Brake’s director of campaigns, Joshua Harris, commented: “Every year Road Safety Week provides a unique opportunity to focus the public, and policy makers’, attention on saving lives on our roads.
“The numbers of those travelling on two wheels is ever-increasing and yet bike riders remain incredibly vulnerable to death and injury; that is why this year our theme is Bike Smart.
“From 19-25 November we will be shouting about the importance of bike safety and encouraging all across the UK to do the same. Small changes can help save countless lives on our roads and now is the time for us to act to improve bike safety in the UK.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.