Safety Time of Year

This article was published in 1996, in Newsletter 8.

As usual at this time of year, the County is organising safety initiatives targeted at younger people, and particularly the new student intake. There are, on average, 300 cycle casualties in the city each year. The Council’s Road Safety Section is therefore spearheading an intensive safer-cycling campaign throughout October.

The campaign, entitled ‘Cyclists Beware! Beware Cyclists’ (as last year), is targeted at both cyclists and at drivers, in an attempt to reduce a pedal-cycle casualty rate that is one of the highest in the country.

Organisers Sarah Truluck and Simon Cripwell told “Centrepiece” (the University Centre’s journal): “If only cyclists and drivers could become more aware of each other and endeavour to share the road in a patient and responsible manner, perhaps we would see a reduction in the rate”.

Road-safety officers promoting the campaign will be encouraging cyclists to ride defensively (see also ‘Cycle Training’, later in this Newsletter) and increase their visibility by wearing something fluorescent and reflective day and night. Drivers will be exhorted to allow cyclists more room, be more considerate and anticipate the unexpected.

The campaign, which starts on September 27th, will be supported by bus advertising and distribution of leaflets, as well as involving every college and other further-education establishment in Cambridge.

Although the aims of the Road Safety Section are laudable, we would be cautious about emphasis on wearing cycle helmets and defensive riding which does nothing to combat the source of the problems (such as dangerous cycle facilities, poor road design, speeding, etc.). We would prefer them to concentrate on some of the ‘Road Danger Reduction’ policies described in previous newsletters.