Police launch campaign to protect cyclists

Northumbria Police is launching a new campaign to protect cyclists on our roads - and put dangerous drivers before the court.

Wednesday, 8th March 2017, 1:27 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:59 am
Latest news from Northumbria Police.
Latest news from Northumbria Police.

Statistics show that 12 per cent of all people killed or seriously injured in road accidents are actually cyclists with hundreds more minor accidents taking place every year.

Previously police have launched educational campaigns to try and encourage greater respect for vulnerable road users in the region, particularly at junctions and on narrow roads.

Now Northumbria have launched ‘Operation Cadence’ which is encouraging cyclists to send their own headcam footage to the force to ensure dangerous drivers are dealt with appropriately.

A dedicated officer will be tasked with viewing any footage before consulting with victims before determining how the driver involved is dealt with.

PC Richard Groves, of Northumbria Police’s Motor Patrols department, said: “The Op Cadence campaign is about targeting motorists whose driving behaviour is putting cyclists at risk.

“Modern technology means that motorists no longer need to be caught red-handed by the police at the scene of the crime to be prosecuted.

“More and more cyclists now have go pro cameras and this means we can put people before the courts even if we don’t catch them at the scene.

“We want to educate motorists about how to behave around cyclists but we also want to encourage cyclists to contact police about near misses if they have video footage.

“We will analyse the footage, speak to victims about what punishment they would like to see and then take appropriate action that could see drivers put before the court.

“A significant number of motorists are not showing the required amount of respect to other road users. We hope this campaign will change attitudes and behaviour on the road.”

Figures from the force shows that, despite cycling accounting for less than 1 per cent of total miles travelled on the regional road network, 12 per cent of people killed or seriously injured in road accidents are actually cyclists.

More than 75 per cent (78pc) of cyclist injuries are within 20 metres of a junction and 88 per cent of these were caused by a collision with a car.

Northumbria Police are working with a number of local cycle groups to see how best the force can tackle the problem and they hope the campaign can have a positive effect on behaviour.

Liz Sidebotham, founder of SPACE for Gosforth, said: “I have been fortunate enough not to have been injured, but I have a friend who was knocked off her bike and hasn’t cycled since. I also know people who would like to cycle but won’t because the behaviour that they see from some drivers makes them feel it’s just too risky.

“I am pleased that Northumbria Police intend to run a safety campaign and hope that this will include both educating drivers and taking enforcement action where appropriate.”

Gary Hall, member of North Tyneside Riders Cycling Club said: “It is so unfortunate that a hobby that keeps you fit and allows you to enjoy the country with friends can seriously damage your health. To all cyclists out there ‘Be alert today be alive tomorrow’.”

As part of the campaign Northumbria Police have also produced posters and leaflets to raise awareness of the campaign.

Councillor Liz Simpson, chair of the Safer Northumberland Partnership added: “We have fantastic roads for cycling in Northumberland but we want everyone to be able to use our network safely.

“As a council we recently adopted two new national safety standards to reduce the risk of collisions between HGVs and vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists.

“This initiative is another good way of educating motorists and improving cyclists’ safety.”

Councillor Michael Mordey who oversees road safety as part of his City Services Portfolio at Sunderland City Council and is also a member of the North East Combined Authority’s (NECA) transport committee said: “All road users need to pay attention at all times and to abide by the Highway Code.

“A campaign reminding drivers of their responsibilities and the vulnerability of cyclists is very welcome.

“Anyone with evidence of bad and dangerous behaviour by other road users should always contact the police.”

If you have some footage you believe needs to be investigated by Northumbria Police, please don’t hesitate to send your enquiries to [email protected]