Road Safety News

New president joins Bikeability session

Wednesday 22nd July 2015

James Cracknell OBE, the new president of the London Road Safety Council, attended a Bikeability training session in south-west London recently.

With his son having completed a Level 2 Bikeability course a few weeks ago, James was keen to meet the instructors to thank them for the work they do to help keep youngsters safe on the roads. He also wished the trainees well in their endeavours to become safe cyclists.

The event also coincided with the fifth anniversary of a horrific incident in which James Cracknell was knocked off his bike while cycling across Arizona in the USA.

In 2010, having completed a number of adventures including reaching the South Pole and rowing across the Atlantic, James turned his attention to a new challenge - cycling, running, rowing and swimming from Los Angeles to New York in record time.

Despite wearing illuminated clothing and safety equipment, James was struck by a truck while cycling through Arizona. He suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and it is believed he would have been killed if he wasn’t wearing a cycle helmet. 

Now, five years later and having fought his way back through a long recovery and rehabilitation process, James has taken on a new role leading London Road Safety Council into its centenary year (2017).

London Road Safety Council
Every year some 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured on London’s roads. London Road Safety Council aims to reduce these casualties by producing and promoting resources and publicity materials and by providing a forum to discuss London’s road safety issues. 


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I believe it is a legal requirement to have a hi-viz vest in the car whilst in France. Certainly the last time we travelled there, we were approached in the queue at Dover asking if we had them, and that they were to hand without leaving the vehicle - one for each passenger IIRC.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

I can agree and disagree with some of the last comments.

1. Perhaps industry has a requirement for CE approval. Private individuals can wear whatever they want. In France, in March of this year, it was decided that hi vis need not be worn except in an emergency. However, from January next year all vehicles must carry such a garment, for use in such an emergency. I don't know if there is a requirement for all passengers to have their own vest but it would seem stupid if they do not. We will have to wait and see.

2. I totally agree hi vis has been with us since the 1970s and yet there is still no evidence of its worthiness.

3. Motorcycle mirrors are not as much of a problem as stated but yes it's worth having them. Without them I and others on motorcycles would feel increasingly vulnerable.

4. As regards hearing more, just take a look at a conflagration of cyclists and count the ones that don't have an earpiece in, listening to music etc, or on the phone. It's easier and quicker than counting those that do. They don't hear more road roar.
Bob Cravern Lancs....Space is Safe Campaigner

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There is no legal requirement for cyclists or motorcyclists to wear hi-viz garments in the UK. There were moves in France to make this so, but popular dissent quashed the move.

High visibility vests do not necessarily increase ones chances of being seen. Amidst an environment of colour, road signs and daytime running lights, hi-viz can become akin to camouflage ask Police officers! A motorcycle with dayglo sections against white background becomes like a Zebra in the svelt hard to see.

Mirrors on a motorcycle are notoriously inaccurate in determining distance and identifying approaching vehicles, but riding without is worse than riding with. On a bicycle, turning the head has a greater effect on the stability of the bicycle than on a motorcycle, and due to the consequent wobble effect, cycle riders can take more lateral space than when using mirrors only. One advantage that cyclists do have over motorcyclists is the greater ability to hear vehicles approaching no engine noise, no bone dome muting external sounds.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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Can you please reference what "requirement" specifically requires any particular EU standard garments. Thanks
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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Hi Rod
I was under the impression the Bikeabiltiy scheme was run by professionals who should understand what EU standard garments are required. These rules do not apply to the man or woman in the street any form of high viz/reflectives there are better than none!
Mike Hancox MD Colan Ltd

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Where is this "legal norm" for wearing a flourescent vest when cycling?
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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I would have thought that riding a bicycle was more like riding a motorcycle rather than driving a car. I see no problem with cyclists having the advantage of a rear view mirror on its offside in order to make a safety check and then also a life saver to make sure one is safe before moving out. It will also assist cyclists to gain useful information quickly on the state of traffic behind. That followed by a good look if considered necessary. The problem is with adults anyway is in general that we have a car driver mentality but with a greater vulnerability than a motorcyclist. A cyclist a lot of the time travelling slower than the other traffic and being overtaken. Something as I have previously said rarely happens to a faster travelling motorcyclist.

As regards the wearing of a vest I understand that there is a legal norm for such but that will be news to many purchasers and they will buy where they can and probably the cheapest.

There is no suggestion as yet that insurance companies will view a non legal vest as being problematical and reduce compensation if not. That said however, if they keep reading about it maybe they will consider fighting the complainant. on such trivial grounds.
Bob Craven Lancs. Space is Safe Campaigner

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Which requirements are you referring to?
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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I agree Rod that looking over your shoulder gives the oncoming driver a clue when you are about to make a manoeuvre. It's referred to as a "life saver" when you're riding a motorbike. That's why I do it when I'm about to make a manoeuvre. I use the mirror so that I can quickly and easily see if there is someone behind me and whether I should pull in to let a queue of vehicles safely past. I just prefer to know what's going on all around me at any given moment.
Iain, Scotland

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As a manufacturer of High Vis and Reflective Products my first observation is, why are the garments used in this photograph not conforming to the required standard EN1150 for Children and EN471 for Adults?

The Bikeability scheme is excellent, my own grandchildren are doing it, but when actually on the road as part of this course training is as far as I am aware a garment to the required standards should be worn. If for heaven's sake there was an accident, would an insurance company pay out if the high vis garments being worn were not up to the required standard.
Mike Hancox MD Colan Ltd Warwick

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I think that would require some experimentation to work out an accurate figure for various circumstances Jon. Perhaps it's something that Mr Cracknell could be asked to organise as we should never miss an opportunity for learning.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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Duncan - what does 'how much extra roadspace they take up' actually mean?
Jon in Bristol

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Not forgetting of course the rule that 'your bike goes where your nose is pointing'. Turn your head to the right and the bike automatically steers to the right thus narrowing the gap between cycle and the vehicle approaching from behind. Check it out next time you drive up behind a cyclist, you'll be amazed at just how much extra roadspace they take up.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (2) | Disagree (15)

I think that for those who have driven motorcycles for many years then "looking in the mirror" becomes second nature. Hence when they do use a cycle they may well seek the same re-assurance of what is behind.

But for children with less capable "looming acuity" then trying to judge the speed of vehicles through the small window of a mirror is unlikely to give any real information of what is happening behind.

Remembering that children also have much more flexibility in their whole body than adults then actually looking over their shoulder to see what is behind gives a far more complete view, and very importantly highlights to any following driver that they are about to make some sort of change in their riding.

If ever, when driving, I see a cyclist looking over their shoulder this gives me a far more noticeable indicator as to their possible actions than any glance down at their mirror would ever give me.

So whilst James Cracknell may be very aware of the rare occurrences of being hit from behind on a cycle he is far better role modelling the "over the shoulder look" (as evidenced in the photograph), than the "glance in a mirror".
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (16) | Disagree (1)

Sorry Martin, I can't agree.

After many years in cars and motorbikes I bought a push bike to improve fitness. After the first ride out the first thing I bought was a bar end mirror as I felt too vulnerable without it. I don't know what make you tried but the one I have gives an excellent view of what's approaching from the rear.
Iain, Scotland

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Duncan, can I suggest that you borrow a bicycle, fit a mirror to it and then try riding on the road. Then perhaps you'll see why cyclists rarely fit mirrors!
Martin, Suffolk

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For a bloke that got spifflicated by a truck hitting him from behind, you would have thought he would insist on his bike having a mirror!
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (4) | Disagree (17)