COMMUNITY group Bike Worcester is celebrating after receiving a grant award funded by the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) John Campion – to ensure everyone is safe on the roads.
With the grant, Bike Worcester has been able to buy more than 100 high visibility camera signs, called Pass Pixis, and waterproof dash cameras for bikes, which will be loaned to city residents using their bicycles regularly.
The equipment will remind drivers to leave enough room when passing cyclists and deter dangerous driving, making it safer for people to get around on a bicycle, for commuting, going to school, or just for fun.
Department of Transport data compiled on the interactive Crash Map website show there have been 3,528 crashes in Worcester from 1999-2021, including 448 serious injuries and 16 fatalities.
The UK’s Highway Code changed in 2022 and now instructs drivers to leave at least 1.5m (or 5ft) of space when passing a cyclist at 30mph or below – and they should give more room at higher speeds.
In Worcester City Council’s consultation that informed the City Centre Transport Strategy published in June 2023, 66 per cent of people disagreed that the city centre is a safe place for children to cycle and 75 per cent supported increasing space for cycling along major roads into the city centre.
Chair of Bike Worcester, Danny Brothwell said: “City residents tell us that the biggest barrier stopping them travelling by bicycle is the perceived risk to their safety from drivers.
“The vast majority of people do drive considerately, but close passes – where cars get too close to a cyclist, causing near misses or injury – are far too common.
“Bike Worcester volunteers collect video evidence and map close passes on our website to provide evidence to West Mercia Police and to the City and County Councils, so that they can take preventative measures to reduce road danger from dangerous driving.
“The equipment funded by the PCC will provide a deterrent and help improve road safety.”
PCC John Campion, said: “It is shocking to hear how many people have been seriously injured or killed in Worcester.
“As part of my Safer West Mercia Plan, I am committed to improving road safety and this includes ensuring all road users are aware of their own behaviour to contribute to a safer road environment for cyclists.
“I am pleased to work with Bike Worcester through this grant to ensure risks on our roads are reduced and everyone is kept safe and feels safe.”
Inspector Darren Godsall, West Mercia Police, added: “For several years now, as part of Operation Snap, members of the public can upload digital footage to West Mercia Police, showing potential traffic offences, including dangerous driving around other road users, such as cyclists.
“Each incident is reviewed by an officer, and we regularly take action against drivers performing close passes.
“Operation Snap receives about 350 submissions a month. It’s a fantastic initiative to change drivers’ behaviour.”