Sussex Safer Roads Partnership are tackling visibility issues with pedal cyclists, as the nights draw in but the collision data continues to rise.
Focusing on areas with high numbers of commuters, the team has been giving out basic bike lights, along with advice and high-visibility gear, in order to combat the increasing numbers of cyclists that end up in collisions.
A Bike Lights Champion from partner organisations has been appointed for each district, and, during commuting hours in November, they have been giving out a set of bike lights to each cyclist who pledges to purchase a more robust set in the coming days. The set given by SSRP is then intended as a back up pair. In addition, high visibility pieces (jackets, rucksack covers), and bicycle maintenance advice has been given out. Surveys have been undertaken before and after the giveaway to note any change in visibility behaviour, and questionnaires will be available for cyclists to answer, to gain an understanding of how safe it feels to cycle in Sussex, and whether the conspicuity material has aided in any way.
Analysis of SSRP data from 2005 to 2014 notes a very marked increase from 2010 onwards. Whilst this is in-keeping with a general national rise in regards to overall data, the amount of ‘Killed or Seriously Injured’ (KSI) cyclists in Sussex have now doubled the national increase, causing great concern about the safety of them on the county’s roads. Further investigations states that among the contributing factors for the crashes occurring are due to “Rider wearing dark clothing” and “Not displaying lights at night or in poor visibility”. To that end, the SSRP have funded a project to get cyclists be bright and be seen, and bring the casualties down. The Partnership has pinpointed the following areas as casualty hotspots, with the figure in brackets the total amount of casualties per 10,000 of the population:
Chichester (4.85), Arun (4.60), Brighton and Hove (7.08), Hastings (3.51), Worthing (7.30), Horsham (2.61), Crawley (3.28), Rother (2.50), and Eastbourne (3.15).