Be Safe. Be Seen.

Very much the mantra of road traffic related advertising campaigns towards my age group when I was at school.

I am not the most svelte of road cyclists. In fact “sturdy” would be a good description I recently heard someone use. As such black – well it’s slimming to say the least, masking a multitude of sins… furthermore a black Gabba is pretty much the weapon of choice.

I am big on night time visabillity. Not so much clothing, but lighting. At night colour means nothing. In half light – colour means a great deal.

Here are some inspiring words borrowed from a source who’s name I shall spare. Food for thought.

Cycling and KSI. (Killed and seriously injured). A very sobering fact.

Now I can bore people with the details. In fairness I know my stuff. It’s my job. I get paid to know.

As I look back on another year it’s sad to say that we continue to see a steady rise in cycle KSI.

Now I’m fully aware of the need to educate drivers and for “their” behaviour to be altered so that all can enjoy safety on our roads. There is a flaw to this argument though. No matter which way you present it.

If the driver doesn’t see the cyclist, for whatever reason, and there are many then no matter how their behaviour towards cyclists is presented cyclists are in a losing situation.

When I study the main causation factors the one that is statistically significant is “did not look properly – failed to judge speed-path.” This is car drivers not seeing cyclists then hitting them.

If you make it so you’re harder to be seen by your position in the road or the clothing you’re wearing or indeed the lack of lights your risk of a collision increases significantly.

A personal bit – I’m getting increasingly incensed by people wearing black clothing on a bike. It beggars belief. I’ve read the counter arguments about shadows and military use of black etc. I don’t buy it. I’ve done real time reconstructions of fatal collisions where cyclists are wearing dark clothing. It’s the Devils job to see them. Couple that with all the other matters going on that a driver has to contend with and you’re playing the odds.

Profile wise, nationally the younger male cyclists aged 20-30 are the highest risk group. No surprise there as we know, through many a study that risk taking is enhanced in that age group. The greatest number of miles ridden is by middle aged men. They represent the next highest casualty rate nationally. In North Wales though we have more casualties in this age range. The trends that stand out are hit from the rear on an A road. Again, often not seen.

Ok, I could go on but essentially my message is this.

Reduce the risk to yourself by being visible. That’s not just about clothing and lights which are important. It’s also about attitude and behaviour. Make eye contact. Ride the lane appropriately. Be positive.

All of those “be seen” and be seen to be seen messages are vital.

Be safe out there.

As another weekend goes by when I see people out in the half-light murk in dark colours and with zero lights… none… or a little pea lamp. If I cannot see you travelling at similar speeds, faster moving vehicles – zero chance.

Image ‘borrowed’ from an article on similar however raising the issue of Target Fixation

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