General, Transport

Racer backs Cycle SMART campaign

Team USA cyclist Janel Holcomb. Click the photo to download.

Team USA cycling star Janel Holcomb has urged motorists and cyclists to treat each other with “mutual respect” as part of Surrey County Council and Surrey Police’s new Cycle Smart campaign.

The Olympic hopeful gave her support to the road safety initiative while training on Surrey’s stretch of the 2012 Olympic road race route last week.

Since it was announced the race would take place in Surrey, there has been a visible increase in the number of people using pedal power in the county. With this in mind, Cycle SMART has been launched to encourage cyclists and motorists to share the roads safely.

Holcomb said: “It’s a matter of mutual respect. I think cyclists and drivers need to be aware of what’s going on and be respectful of one another. Very often, if you’re in a car and you see a group of cyclists you might get nervous, but if you treat cyclists as if they were another vehicle on the road that just moves a little bit slower, and if you have a little patience, that’s the key to being able to occupy the roads safely.”

The professional racer added: “I’ve ridden for years in places where people ask, how can you ride there, there are so many cars? It really is a matter of mutual respect and understanding. First of all, cyclists need to be respectful of cars and understand the rules of the road and then the same goes for drivers.”

Kay Hammond, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “The eyes of the world will be on Surrey when the Olympic cycle race and time trial events take place in the county, so it’s no surprise cyclists want to come and try out the route beforehand.

“Places like Box Hill, which was already a popular spot with cyclists, can get very busy so I would urge everyone to be aware of each other and share the roads safely, whether you’re on two wheels or four.”

Superintendent Sharon Bush from Surrey Police added: “We want everyone to enjoy this summer’s Olympic road races, but all road users in the county need to be aware of the dangers of sharing the space with others.

“Cyclists can keep themselves safe by never riding more than two abreast and by riding in single file on narrow or busy roads. They should also manage their speed and wear appropriate safety equipment. Meanwhile, motorists can play their part in keeping cyclists safe by giving them plenty of room, by being aware they may be present at junctions or traffic lights and by not using a horn while waiting to a overtake them.”

Cycle SMART is offering hints and tips to motorists and cyclists about how to share the road safely. These are available online at www.drivesmartsurrey.org.uk.

The campaign also features eye-catching posters with road safety messages, which include asking riders to wear bright clothing and use lights, as well as reminding drivers to look out for cyclists at junctions.

ENDS

Media requiring more information can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley at james.oxley@surreycc.gov.uk.

Notes to editors

Tips for cyclists:

* Allow drivers to pass where it is safe to do so
* Don’t stop in large groups on the road
* Be seen, be safe, ride where others can see you, dress brightly and use lights
* Take your time to see other road users around you, especially at junctions

Tips for motorists:

* Allow plenty of room when passing a cyclist
* Pass a cyclist at a cautious speed
* Take extra care when turning left, you may not be able to see cyclists that are around you
* Look out for cyclists, especially at junctions

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