Update from Transport for Bucks:
Take Extra Care!
We are living in unprecedented and uncertain times. During these times, the current government advice is that we should only be travelling for essential journeys. This includes trips to buy essentials, such as food and medical supplies or trips to the hospital or doctors.
If you are making an essential journey, please remember to always drive at a legal and appropriate speed, wear a seatbelt, don’t use your phone whilst driving and don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve had an alcohlic drink.
We all have a responsibility to avoid putting more strain on the emergency services, so please always use the roads safely and take extra care when making essential journeys.
Taking extra care on the roads isn’t just about you and your driving, though.
With the government currently allocating one trip outdoors for exercise each day, there are more people out on the roads, especially on rural roads. As a driver please take extra care and watch out for cyclists, who may be inexperienced or new to cycling and pedestrians out on their daily walk, taking advantage of the roads that you usually find very quiet.
Both cyclists and pedestrians should look out for each other as they can’t always be heard approaching. Anyone using the road, be it a pedestrian, cyclist or driver, needs to be aware of their surroundings and take extra care at all times.
The Highway Code gives guidance for pedestrians:
‘As a pedestrian always use the pavement (including any path along the side of the road) where there is one. If there is no pavement, keep to the right-hand side of the road so that you can see oncoming traffic. You should take extra care and be prepared to walk in single file, especially on narrow roads or in poor light, keep close to the side of the road. It may be safer to cross the road well before a sharp right-hand bend so that oncoming traffic has a better chance of seeing you. Cross back after the bend.
Help other road users to see you. Wear or carry something light-coloured, bright or fluorescent in poor daylight conditions. When it is dark, use reflective materials (eg armbands, sashes, waistcoats, jackets, footwear), which can be seen by drivers using headlights up to three times as far away as non-reflective materials.’
For more information visit: www.gov.uk/highway-code
Busy season for agricultural vehicles
As the weather gets warmer and summer approaches, there are going to be more and more agricultural vehicles out on the roads. Drivers of such vehicles may not be expecting the increase in pedestrians and cyclists on roads that are usually quiet in the rural areas they operate in. If you are a driver of an agricultural vehicle, please be aware that there may be a family out for a walk around the corner, or a cyclist not expecting to meet a tractor and trailer.
Similarly, pedestrians and cyclists need to remember that they are not going to be the only ones using the roads, and there will be more large agricultural vehicles on the roads in the days and weeks to come. Take extra care, especially when going around a corner, and always stay focused on the road ahead and behind you.
Watch your speed
Because we shouldn’t be using the roads for anything other than essential journeys, you may find that the roads are a lot quieter at the moment.
Just because there are less vehicles, doesn’t mean you can take less care. Remember that the roads are not a race track, so please always abide by the speed limit. The traffic on the roads might be different but the speed limits remain the same! It’s also worth keeping in mind that a speed limit is the maximum speed you should be travelling at and isn’t a target. An appropriate speed for the road you are travelling on is not always as fast as the speed limit. Other factors should always be considered, such as weather conditions and the level of traffic on the road.
And remember – the roads might be quieter but the police are still making patrols.
If you crash into someone who is on foot or on a bicycle, your speed helps determine if they live or die. Do you know that the survival chances of a pedestrian hit at 20, 30 and 40 mph?
Challenge bad driving habits and ask yourself, “Would I pass my test is I drove like this?”
If the answer is no, then don’t do it.
With speed in mind, have you had the chance to take our online speed e-learning module yet? It takes about 15 minutes to complete and is free to do. You can find it here: https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/transport-and-roads/road-safety/managing-speed/speed-awareness-e-learning-module/
On your bike!
Around about now we would be promoting Be A Better Biker courses. Due to the current pandemic, these have had to be put on hold. However, throughout the month of May we will be focusing on motorbike safety across our social media platforms.
The warmer weather might tempt many motorcyclists to take their bike for a spin, but we must remind you not to make any non-essential journeys. If you have to travel, think very carefully about whether you should use a motorbike over a car; the consequences of an incident on two wheels generally mean more severe injuries than an equivalent incident in a car and this can place an extra burden on the emergency services at a time when they’re already stretched.
However, for many, a motorbike (or similar two wheeled vehicle) will be their only means of transport. In these cases, it is so important to ensure that your riding is as safe as possible. Although less traffic on the roads should potentially mean fewer moving hazards, a lot of the traffic is moving more quickly and some people may be less focused on what’s going on around them.
Adopting a systematic approach to your riding can give you more time to anticipate and react to situations, potentially avoiding incidents. The acronym IPSGA is a good way to approach hazards in a systematic way. Think about this as you come to a bend, junction or any other hazard:
I – INFORMATION – Consider all the information around you. What can you see, what can’t you see and what might be reasonably expected to happen?
P- POSITION – Given you have the information, where should you be positioned on the road? Select your position according to these three criteria:
- Safety – maintain a “safety bubble” around you
- Stability – if it’s safe, select the road position that gives you the most stability
- View – if it’s safe, and stable, select the road position that gives you the best view
S – SPEED – Change your speed to be the right speed for you to negotiate the hazard
G – GEAR – When you’ve got your speed right, make sure you’re in the right, responsive gear
A – ACCELERATE – As you leave the hazards, accelerate to an appropriate speed and keep scanning for more information to keep the IPSGA process going.
If you’d like to find out more about being smoother, and safer, in your riding contact IAM RoadSmart on 0330 303 1134 or at www.iamroadsmart.com and they’ll put you in touch with your local group
Other interesting road safety news…
- Free road safety resources provided for children https://roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/suppliers-offer-free-road-safety-teaching-resources-for-children/
- Helping commercial drivers plan their essential routes https://roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/commercial-drivers-urged-to-plan-their-journeys/
- Quieter roads and increased speeding – a growing road safety issue https://roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/quieter-roads-and-increased-speeding-a-growing-road-safety-issue/