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Cycle and pedestrian safety

Road safety

It’s easy for us to over-estimate our road safety skills, so it’s important to keep this in-mind when out and about on the roads.

Advice for keeping safe as a pedestrian:

1. Give the road your full attention when you're crossing, even if you're with a group of friends. Look out for them too.

2. Don't use your mobile to talk or text while you're crossing.

3. Listening to music is distracting while crossing the road - you won't be able to concentrate properly on the traffic, or even hear it if you've got headphones on or earphones in.

4. Don't take chances when you cross the road - cars may not be able to stop, so wait for a big gap in the traffic.

5. It's safer if you use a pedestrian crossing. There's usually one only a short distance away.

As you get older, you'll be making more and longer journeys on your own or with friends. Find Your Way looks at how you can stay safe while doing the things that you want to do.

Investigate these incident scenes, then rewind to see what happened leading up the collisions, and fast forward to find out what happened next.

Source: DfT's THINK! website

Be Bright, Be Seen

It can be really difficult for motorists to see pedestrians wearing dark clothes at night or when visibility is poor. If your school uniform is dark this can add to the problem, but there are things you can do to make yourself be more visible.

On dull days you can wear bright or fluorescent colours and use a brightly coloured school bag.  If your school does not allow this then you could wear a high visibility tabard over your uniform for the school journey, which can be bought from many high street retailers. Alternatively fluorescent arm bands can be worn over coats and other clothing.

When walking near traffic in the dark, reflective clothing is needed. Reflective material reflects light from car and bike headlamps making you instantly visible. You can easily buy reflective armbands, stickers and clothing to wear over your uniform.  Remember that fluorescent colours do not show up in the dark, you need to wear or carry something reflective or that lights up to be sure you can be seen.

Cycle safety

You can download cycle maps for Wirral and the wider Merseyside area from the Merseytravel website. The maps show cycle lanes and enjoyable cycling routes, avoiding busy roads and junctions.

Top Tips for cyclists:

1.Get training. Cycle training will give you the skills you need to ride safely on today's busy roads. Visit the Bikeability website for more information on how to get local training.

2. Learn the code. Study the Highway Code and be considerate to other road users, particularly pedestrians.

3.Pay attention to traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, one-way streets and other road signs, and obey police officers, traffic wardens and school crossing patrol officers.

4. Keep your bike in good working order. Take care to maintain your bike properly, including tyres, brakes and lights. Read the simple bike health check below.

5. Wear a helmet. Half the injuries to cyclists are to the head and face. Choose a helmet that meets national safety standards: either British (9BS 6863 or BS EN 1078), American (ANSI Z90.4 or SNELL) or Australian (AS 2063). Make sure your helmet fits properly - see the quick guide further down this page.

6. Wear light coloured clothing. Fluorescent by day and reflective by night is best.

7. Be aware. Look all around you when you start off, turn, overtake or stop.

8. Give clear signals. Make sure that your hand signals are clear and visible.

9. Don't get distracted. Don't listen to music or use a mobile phone when you're cycling, or talk to your friends if they're cycling with you.

10. Get lights. Remember, it's an offence to cycle at night without a white front light, a red back light and a red reflector at the back. If you have a dynamo on your bike, the lights will go out when you stop and you won't be so easily visible.

The 5-minute bike check:

Maintaining your bike in good working order will help keep you safe on the road. Here are a few simple checks that you should do regularly to make sure that your bike is in good working order.

Front tyre and wheels

Lift the front end of the bike by the handlebar stem:

  • pat the front tyre to check the wheel is tight in the frame
  • squeeze the sides of the front tyre to check that it's inflated properly
  • check that the wheel doesn't move from side to side when you try to wobble it - this could mean the bearings are worn

Brakes

Put the front wheel down and apply the front and back brakes. Check that:

  • the brake pads bear evenly on the rim - they don't touch at one end and not the other
  • the cables inside the levers aren't frayed
  • there is nothing missing from the brake mechanism (e.g. small nuts or fixing screws)
  • the brakes work - try to push the bike forward with the brakes on

Handlebars

Release the brakes, step over the front wheel and grip it between your knees. Then:

  • holding the handlebar grips, check for movements side to side and up and down
  • check that all levers on the handlebars are tightly fitted

Saddle

Move towards the rear of the bike and hold the saddle tightly. Check that you can't move it up and down or from side to side.

Rear wheel and tyres

Lift the rear of the bike by the saddle:

  • pat the tyre in the direction of the rear drop-outs to check the rear wheel is tight in the frame
  • squeeze the sides of the rear tyre to check inflation
  • wobble the wheel from side to side to check for bearing tightness

Gears

You'll need someone to help you with this one. Ask the rider to work the pedals by hand while you hold the rear wheel off the ground by the saddle.

  • while the bike is being pedalled by hand, shift through all the gears on the back sprocket to check that the chain stays on in the highest and lowest gear.
  • do the same with the front gear changer to check that the chain will not come off the chainrings.
  • wobble the pedals side to side in turn to check that they don't move too much, as this could indicate worn bearings in the bottom bracket.
  • make sure your helmet fits properly

A properly fitting helmet:

  • needs to be positioned squarely on your head, sitting just above the eyebrows and not tilted back or tipped forwards
  • must be a snug fit and should remain secure on your head
  • should not stop you seeing clearly or cover your ears
  • should have its straps securely fastened and not twisted, with only enough room for two fingers between your chin and the strap

Source: DfT's THINK! website

More local cycling support:

Wirral Community Cycle Hubs

For friendly advice and local information about safer cycling for all ages and abilities visit your local Cycle Hub. Hubs offer:

  • a free bike check for your own bike
  • help with your cycling skills and confidence on your own bike or one available for free to borrow

For more details contact: janet.gregory@sustrans.org.uk or call 0750 055 9669

Freewheeling - free cycling skills tuition on Merseyside

Get fit, stay safe and give your confidence a boost with our free cycling courses worth over £150 per person. Place your booking or contact: Tel 0151 207 3140.

Maps

Download Wirral and Merseyside cycling maps

Free secure cycle storage at stations on the Merseyrail network

Find out more

Cycle Marking

British Transport Police offer free bike marking at locations across Merseyside. Contact Jill Smythe or Sargent Michael Taylor, MPT Wirral  for detail on: 0800405040

Group and Guided Cycling

Find out more