Derbyshire joins national roads policing operation to protect vulnerable road users
Main article content
Between 9-22 November, police forces from across the country will be focussing their efforts on the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) vulnerable road user initiative.
Newly released NPCC figures highlighted that, our most vulnerable road users are motorcyclists - with a casualty rate of 5,475 per billion passenger miles. Motorbikes can be difficult to see and are often moving quicker than you might think. Injuries often occur by cars pulling out at junctions without seeing the biker in time. Second to this, cyclist casualty rates were recorded to be at 5,068.
Pedestrian deaths stand at 1,613 per billion passenger miles, which is a 1% rise since the previous year. Around 30 child pedestrians are killed or seriously injured every week. Children often misjudge the speed and intentions of drivers and are easily distracted and may dash into the road without looking. Nearly half of all pedestrians killed are aged over 60, older people may have difficulties in seeing or hearing approaching traffic and may have decreased mobility.
These stark figures emphasise the importance in protecting the road users on our streets. During this operation, our Roads Policing Unit will be setting up check-sites around the county and engaging with the public to both educate and positively influence attitudes and road user behaviour.
Inspector Greg Hunt, who leads the roads policing team, said: "As the winter nights are drawing in and worsening weather conditions are imminent, there is now a growing need to focus on protecting our vulnerable road users.
"During lockdown, many people saw the benefit of quieter roads and with new government schemes in place, encouraging individuals to cycle to work, road safety knowledge needs to be heightened.
"We expect everyone to share our road space respectfully as we all have the right to travel on the road safely, no matter what form of transport you use. Everyone has their part to play in keeping Derbyshire’s road users safe."
Here are some tips to adhere to whilst driving:
- Watch your speed - your speed can literally make the difference between life or death.
- Be patient. Give others time and room.
- Be prepared for others to make mistakes or brake suddenly.
- Never drive and use a mobile phone.
- Think bike. Always check your mirrors for cyclists or motorcyclists. Be especially careful that your nearside is clear when turning left, pulling out at junctions or at roundabouts.
- Respect our cycle lanes.
- When overtaking a cyclist or motorcyclist, bear in mind that they can be affected by side winds.
- The higher the speed limit, the more room will be required when passing a cyclist – if passing at 30mph, the minimum distance required is 1.5m.
- Always allow ample room to pull back in after overtaking.
- Never overtake a cyclist or motorcyclist and then turn left shortly afterwards.
- Ensure you are prepared for inclement weather if using a motorbike, which in turn, aids with concentration.
- Drive slowly past horses, no more than 15mph. Give them plenty of room and be prepared to stop.
- Whilst passing a horse rider, keep your engine noise as low as possible and avoid sounding the horn - remember they are dealing with powerful animals, which are easily frightened and can panic in traffic.
It is important that vulnerable road users are easily spotted on the roads. For maximum visibility during the day, cycling kit should be as bright as possible, ideally fluorescent. When riding at night, clothing needs to be as reflective - with particular attention paid to the knees and ankles. The use of strong front and rear lights when cycling is essential.
Vulnerable road-users are reminded that they can submit any footage they have of close-passes or intimidating/dangerous driving to Derbyshire Capture for us to investigate at https://snap.derbyshire.police.uk/
Alongside this operation, the organisation BRAKE will be running a separate ‘Road Safety Week’ between 16-22 November, which is targeted at reducing speeding on the streets of Derbyshire. The force will be setting up speed check-sites during this time, further information on this initiative will follow next week.