Be Cyclewise and be a winner!

Press release by Safer Roads Partnership

The Safer Roads Partnership in West Mercia is today launching a new campaign, aimed at cyclists and pedestrians, to help reduce casualties and deaths on Shropshire's roads.

Over the past three years (2005-2007) 8% of all recorded collisions within West Mercia (Shropshire, Worcestershire & Herefordshire) involved pedal cycles, whilst 12% involved pedestrians. A third of all pedal cycle and pedestrian casualties were in the 10-19 age bracket and last year alone there were 4 fatalities involving cycles and 13 pedestrian fatalities.

Advertising on buses, within leisure centres and cinemas will be running through July and August and the campaign will also be targeting motorists to make them more aware of the risks that are present when sharing the road with other users.

As part of the campaign the Safer Roads Partnership will also be offering 'Cyclewise' safety packs - high visibility fluorescent bags containing reflectors, free puncture repair kits and other items to help stay safe on the roads. These will be available from local road safety officers through school cycle training. 200 lucky people will also have the chance to win one of these during this weekend by either visiting the Safer Roads Partnership stand at Newport Show or from one of the cyclewise mADbikes that will be cycling through Shrewsbury and Newport town centre during the whole of Saturday 19th July.

Vicki Bristow, Communications Manager for the Safer Roads Partnership says:

"Cycling and walking is a popular past time within Shropshire, however people need to take care in order to ensure they are doing it as safely as possible. We hope that this campaign will help them be just that bit safer when using the roads."

Sergeant John Roberts of West Mercia Constabulary's Collision Investigation Unit said:

"Motorists should be aware of pedestrians near the road or crossing the road and should never assume that their vehicle has been seen or heard especially when children are involved as they tend not to have the road sense or self-control of adults. The elderly, or people with disabilities may not move as quickly as some drivers would expect as they may have difficulties in seeing or hearing approaching traffic or accurately judging speed and distance.

Pedal cyclists are more vulnerable than motorists and need to be given extra consideration at all times. One of the most important safety tips for pedal cyclists to follow is to always wear a cycle helmet. Most of the injuries sustained by cyclists after a collision are to the head and face so wearing a cycle helmet reduces the seriousness of these injuries if they are involved in a collision".

Steve Chadwick, Road Safety Officer for Shropshire County Council said;

"The Cyclewise safety packs are proving very popular with the children who are receiving them as part of their cycle training course activities. We would also like to remind all pedestrians and cyclists to make sure they can be seen by other road users when out and about. Pedestrians – wear or carry something light – coloured, bright or florescent in daylight. When it's dark, use reflective materials, armbands, waistcoat and footwear. Cyclists – Always wear a helmet and wear fluorescent clothing during the day and reflective in the dark. Make sure your lights work and are clean and remember reflectors; make sure they are clean and in good condition."

Mandy Roberts, Road Safety Officer for Borough of Telford & Wrekin said;

"When we asked experienced cyclists in Telford & Wrekin what messages they think should be given to drivers, the majority said 'be more aware and give us room'. This is a very simple message that could save lives."

Ashley Brown, Road safety Co-ordinator Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service said;

"Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service are committed to reducing the number of people killed and injured on Shropshire's roads. We welcome and encourage all campaigns to reduce the number of injuries and increase the awareness of road safety to all road users, especially to those who are more vulnerable than others. We would encourage all cyclists to follow a few simple safety tips; wear a helmet each time they ride, think about the clothing they wear and get trained in cycling safely."

18th July, 2008