Police warn drivers ‘social-distance yourselves from cyclists … or else’

 

SHOCKING footage (see above) has been released showing how the lives of cyclists have been put at risk by dangerous drivers across the region.

Northumbria Police have published the head-cam videos in a bid to encourage vulnerable road users to submit footage of cars passing by them too closely.

With more cyclists taking to the road during the coronavirus pandemic, those involved in serious or fatal collisions increased by 11 per cent, with figures at a four-year high.

And police are concerned the darker winter months will also lead to a spike in cyclists being put at risk by cars driving by them at high speed.

Now officers are trying to encourage the public to upload footage through the Northumbria Police website in a bid to reduce the number of cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders put at risk by drivers.

The plea comes as Northumbria Police throw their support behind Brake’s annual Road Safety Week, launched across the country today.

Chief Inspector Sam Rennison, head of Northumbria Police’s road safety department.

 

Chief Inspector Sam Rennison, who oversees the force’s Road Safety Department, says prosecutions will follow where footage submitted to police shows dangerous or careless driving.

“Modern technology means drivers no longer need to be caught red-handed by the police at the scene of a crime to be prosecuted,” said Chief Insp Rennison.

“As it stands, 77 per cent of the footage submissions we do get result in positive action being taken, whether that be a warning or a prosecution.

“But we still don’t see a large number of submissions from vulnerable road users, and this week we want to appeal to cyclists to submit more footage.”

She added: “Too many vulnerable road users are seriously injured or killed because they have been knocked down by someone driving in a dangerous manner.

“We have been very good at socially distancing and giving two metres space in the community – and now we need to apply that logic to the roads.”

Between September 2019 and August this year there were 336 incidents involving cyclists in the Northumbria Police force area, with 80 of those leading to serious or fatal injuries.

That was an 11 per cent increase in serious or fatal injuries compared to same period between 2018 and 2019, and the highest figure in the last four years.

An increase in the number of cyclists taking to the roads is thought to be a significant factor with the number of people taking to two wheels doubling during lockdown.

Chief Insp Rennison has called on motorists to support the campaign and said poor cycling should not be compared to, or used an excuse for, poor driving.

“There are occasions when cyclists behave irresponsibly on the roads but those actions seldom result in a serious collision or a death,” she said. “Ultimately we are trying to save lives and we believe encouraging more people to submit footage, whether you’re a cyclist or a driver, can help us do that.”

Anyone who wants to submit footage to police can do so by visiting the Northumbria Police website and clicking on ‘Report an Incident’.

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