Police in Suffolk are supporting two nationwide campaigns. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Vulnerable Road Users Operation began on Monday 18 September, and runs for one week until Sunday 24 September.
The campaign seeks to raise awareness of the risks faced on the roads by pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders. These groups tend to disproportionately account for those seriously injured or killed in collisions.
— Suffolk Police (@SuffolkPolice) September 18, 2023
Incidents involving pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders often occur when a motorist has failed to slow down sufficiently and allow sufficient space to go around them – which is a particular issue with cyclists riding on urban roads.
The constabulary highlights the risks faced by cyclists by running ‘Close Pass’ operations, with officers identifying motorists who have failed to allow enough room to overtake and offer them an educational input. When overtaking a cyclist, motorists should allow at least 1.5 metres between their vehicle and the bicycle to pass it safely.
Being aware of pedestrians crossing roads and walking along roads – particularly in the countryside – is something else motorists should be alert to and allow time and space for.
Motorcyclists should make sure their vehicles are fully roadworthy and ensure they are wearing the required protective clothing. They are also encouraged to consider participating in a ‘Safe Rider’ workshop – which are beneficial to even the most experienced riders. More information can be found here: Safe Rider Workshops | Suffolk Constabulary
The campaign also coincides with the National Eye Health Week initiative called: “Your Vision Matters?” In support of this, where appropriate officers will be taking the opportunity to conduct roadside eyesight tests.
Officers from the Joint Roads and Armed Policing Team (RAPT) will be conducting high visibility roadside speed checks across the county, educating and informing drivers of the risks posed by speeding and the effects this can have on vulnerable road users.
Officers will target all those motorists who display a distinct disregard for the law, with a particular emphasis on the ‘Fatal Four’ offences of: drink/drug driving; speeding; driving whilst using a mobile phone; driving without wearing a seat belt.
Both marked and unmarked police vehicles will be used, equipped with speedometers and video recording equipment in order to target reckless or speeding drivers.
Chief Inspector Jonathan Chapman, Head of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “Our roads are for everyone to use, but those classed as vulnerable users are at greater risk of coming to harm in a collision, despite only accounting for a relatively small percentage of overall journeys that are made.
“Cycling in particular has become an increasingly popular activity over recent years and whether it is done for leisure purposes, commuting, or general use, it brings clear health and environmental benefits.
“We want all motorists to drive with care, to be on the look-out for vulnerable road users and ensure you pass them at an appropriate speed, allowing sufficient time and space to do so. Pedestrians, cyclists and riders have as much right to be on the roads as anyone else.
“Eye health is not something a number of drivers will have thought about before and we hope by raising its awareness, people will think about whether their vision is good for the road and book an eye test if needed.”
Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said: “Whether on two wheels, four wheels, two legs or four, we all have to share the road, so we need to be considerate to all road users to keep everyone safe.
“Motorcyclists, cyclists and horse-riders don’t have the same level of protection as drivers such as seat belts or airbags which makes them particularly vulnerable, so I urge all drivers to please take more care when they are out and about. Giving vulnerable road users more space and slowing down when passing really will make a huge difference.
“It is essential that all road users ensure their vehicles are roadworthy and that that they themselves are fit to take to the road – something as routine as an eye test can really make a difference.
“Everyone has a part to play in reducing the number of incidents on our county’s roads. If all we show a little more respect and take extra time to look out for vulnerable road users I hope we can make our roads safer for all.”
Motorists caught committing offences will be issued with a Traffic Offence Report (TOR) and face a fine, points on their licence or even court action. Some drivers can opt to take part in a relevant awareness course.
More information about National Eye Health Week can be found here: Vision Matters – National Eye Health Week