Cyclists are the only group in Merseyside where the numbers of those killed or seriously injured has increased across the last five years.
2019 saw 87 cyclists in Merseyside killed or seriously injured – 10% more than the year before – and 2020 looks set to see another increase (although the official figures can’t be released until they are validated by the DfT).
Cycling has become more popular for exercise and commuting. Cycle mileage has increased by 16% in Great Britain over the past ten years and in 2019 around 3.5 billion miles were traversed by cyclists. There seems to have been a significant increase in cycling during lockdown as well – but that will likely mean more fatalities and injuries.
We know that there’s an increased volume of cyclists on the road now. A lot of drivers in Merseyside are incredibly considerate and mindful of this, but some are struggling to adapt. That’s why we encourage cyclists to submit footage of closes passes or near misses to Merseyside Police via our website. Often drivers don’t realise just how much space cyclists need to be given on the road (1.5m), or what that amount of space looks like.
Inspector Carl McNulty of Merseyside Roads Policing
From the 10th of May Merseyside Road Safety Partnership is working with Arriva and Stagecoach to help drivers understand what that space looks like. Adverts showing the actual 1.5m width will run on the back of buses all across Merseyside.
We know that more people than ever have taken up cycling over the lockdowns – which is wonderful. We’re still seeing people parking on cycle lanes and paths though, or parking in such a way that cyclists have to go further out into the road, and often that’s when these close passes happen. Drivers need to be able to give cyclists the full 1.5m of space – but they can’t if people have parked obstructively.
The Safer Roads Unit Coordinator, Sarah English
Merseyside Road Safety Partnership have been working alongside Liverpool Combined Authority and BikeRight! to offer anyone who works, studies or lives in Merseyside free cycle training and cycle skills sessions. This is giving adults, students, children and businesses the chance to benefit from specialist guidance and support, more info about these sessions can be found here.
Parallel to this, police and community support officers from Merseyside’s Local Policing teams have recently undergone training and will be using their bikes to patrol around their communities. Some officers will be equipped with high definition cameras and will record their journeys and review and act on any footage that captures careless driving by motorists, including ‘close passes’. This footage can then be used to help drivers understand how their actions can put cyclists at risk.
We’re also promoting these important road safety messages across social media platforms.
We urge all road users to Share The Road. Share The Responsibility.