A MAJOR campaign to highlight the dangers posed to cyclists on the county’s roads gets under way today.
Hampshire police has launched the Steer Clear campaign in a bid to dramatically reduce the number of bike riders who are injured or killed.
It comes in response to a rise in accidents nationally and on the back of some 190 cyclists being seriously hurt on local roads last year as well as one death.
Former university lecturer Mark Brummell, a member of the Southampton Cycling Campaign, died at the age of 53 in a collision with a Renault Megane at Ipley Crossroads in the New Forest in May.
The drive will see signs placed on key roads which have been identified as dangerous for cyclists.
The signs will then be changed during the course of the coming year with new messages, in the hope of making drivers more alert.
The campaign has been launched in conjunction with both Southampton and Hampshire councils and has the backing of British Cycling as well as local businesses including Halfords and Hargroves.
Officers will be handing out advice and information leaflets to all road users, which also include discount vouchers to help ensure that cyclists have the right protective equipment, lights and safety kit on their bikes.
High-visibility rucksack covers will also be given to cyclists to help make them more visible to other motorists.
Sergeant Darren Ord, who is co-|ordinating the campaign, said: “Steer Clear is really important to us, because it is designed purely to save life and stop people being injured on our roads.
“Our message to cyclists is very simple – be safe and be seen.”
A key part of the scheme will be raising awareness of road laws and clampdowns on people cycling recklessly on pavements, without lights and those who choose to get on their bikes while under the influence of drink or drugs.
Sgt Ord said: “We want to foster a culture of mutual respect between all road users to create a safer environment on the roads. Ultimately, we want to stop people getting hurt and reduce road casualties, and we are confident that this initiative will help us do just that.”
Earlier this year, the Daily Echo revealed that more cyclists were hurt on Hampshire’s roads last year than anywhere outside London – 816 in 2011, an 18 per cent rise on the previous year.
THE roads where new signs will be placed following incidents in 2011/12:
- A3024 between its junctions with Hawkeswood Road and A334 Bitterne Road East: Four serious and three slight injuries.
- A3057 Shirley High Street and Shirley Road: Seven slight injuries.
- A3025 Central Bridge, Royal Crescent Road, B3039 Salt Marsh Road, A33 March Lane, A33 Terminus Terrace: Three serious and six slight injuries.
- Pound Tree Road: One serious and two slight injuries.
- B3054 between Hill Top and Hatchet Moor: Three serious injuries.
- B3334 Gosport Road, in vicinity of Baycroft School: Four slight injuries.
- A32 Gosport Road, between its junctions with Mill Road roundabout and Lederle Lane: Three serious injuries.
- A27 Between its junctions with Farm Road, Titchfield Common and Highlands Road: One serious and four slight injuries.