Cyclists and motorists are being urged to take more care around junctions and roundabouts as part of a new cycle safety campaign by Surrey County Council and Surrey Police now underway.
Drive SMART*, the road safety initiative led by the county council and police, aims to encourage more people to enjoy the benefits of cycling and to stay safe as they do so.
While cycling-related injuries are rare, figures show that accidents are most common around ‘give way’ junctions and roundabouts.
Data covering the years 2008 to 2014 shows that almost one in three (32 per cent) of accidents involving cyclists in Surrey happened when a vehicle turned across the path of a cyclist, for example when leaving a side road at a T-junction.
But a further 23 per cent of cycling accidents involved no other vehicle, for example when the cyclist lost control while riding at speed or braking.
Last year, there were four fatalities, 162 serious injuries and 482 slight injuries of cyclists on Surrey’s roads.
The cycle safety campaign aims to help cyclists understand correct road positioning and to encourage drivers to give cyclists enough room on the road, taking particular care around junctions.
The campaign, which runs until the end of August, uses tried and tested Transport for London graphics to remind both car drivers and cyclists to share the county’s roads responsibly and look out for one another.
It features adverts on local radio, in trains and on the backs of buses as well as online and via social media. In support, Surrey Police officers will play a crucial enforcement role by intervening whenever an offence is committed or there is anti-social behaviour on our roads.
Kay Hammond, Drive SMART Chairman, said: ‘We’re pleased that more people are enjoying the many benefits of cycling, particularly now that we’re getting the warmer summer weather. Not only does taking to two wheels offer health benefits and greater freedom, it can also save riders money.
‘But even one accident is one too many and through the Drive SMART campaign, we want to encourage both cyclists and drivers to stay safe by taking precautions and looking out for each other on Surrey’s roads.’
Superintendent Chris Moon, of Surrey Police, said: ‘The vast majority of drivers and cyclists share our roads considerately and safely. On occasions when they don’t, and they put themselves and others in harm’s way, we will take consistent action to educate and enforce.
‘There are a range of interventions available for our officers to use with both drivers and cyclists, from verbal advice or a referral to road safety training to fixed penalties or court summons where proportionate and appropriate. We’re committed to working with our partners at Surrey County Council to reduce cycle casualties and make our roads safer for everyone.’
* Drive SMART is a partnership initiative between Surrey County Council and Surrey Police. It launched in September 2009 in response to residents’ concerns about safety on the roads.
For more information about Drive SMART visit drivesmartsurrey.org.uk