Road safety teams across the UK are calling for ‘tolerance and understanding’ among road users during a two-week focus on the risks faced by pedestrians, horse riders, pedal and motorcyclists.
In South Yorkshire in 2021, 127 pedestrians, 92 motorcyclists, 88 cyclists and 16 horse riders were involved in a serious collision. Tragically, ten pedestrians, eight motorcyclists and one pedal cyclist lost their lives on local roads.
Collision data from across the country shows that the number of pedestrians and motorcyclists being killed or seriously injured, continues to grow. Road safety teams are therefore coming together to highlight the dangers faced by active travellers and the role we all have in protecting those most at risk of harm.
A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership (SYSRP) said: “This campaign speaks to everyone who uses the road, with a focus on those who have a greater responsibility to reduce the risk that they may pose.
“Pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists are not protected by a vehicle body in the same way car users are and tend to be harder for other drivers to see on the road.
“Over the next two weeks, we will be reminding all road users about key Highway Code guidance including giving way to pedestrians waiting to cross at junctions, cycling in the centre of the lane, safe passing distances and the Dutch reach.
“We hope this will encourage a better understanding of each other, positive road user behaviour and ultimately prevent death and serious injury.”
The Highway Code was updated in January 2022 following extensive consultation with walking, cycling and disability groups.
The new guidance introduced a ‘hierarchy of road users’ which places more responsibility on those who have the capacity to cause more harm – for example large vehicles and cars.
The guidance encourages road users to:
• give priority at junctions to people cycling straight ahead and people waiting to cross or already crossing the road
• pass horse riders at under 10mph and allow at least 2 metres of space and keep to a low speed when passing people walking on the road
• leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds
• remember that people cycling may ride two abreast or in the centre of the lane if it is safer to do so, pulling in when safe to allow vehicles to overtake
SYSRP will support the national initiative by using the Government’s ‘Travel Like You Know Them’ messaging which encourages empathy by offering a snapshot into the lives of everyday road users.
RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “Drivers, cyclists, pedestrians – at the end of the day we’re all humans getting from A to B and this campaign reminds us all, in a very personal way, of the responsibilities we have for looking after each other.
“Every casualty on our roads is one too many and we hope all road users take the time to remind themselves of what they should be doing differently following last year’s major changes to the Highway Code.”