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New signs will be appearing on the roads of Hampshire today (October 1) to raise public awareness of the dangers posed to cyclists.
In 2011, there was an eight per cent increase in cyclists as road casualties across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, with 190 seriously injured and one cyclist killed.
In 2012, there has been another death, and the levels of cyclists being injured or killed on the roads of the UK nationally are increasing.
As a result, officers from Hampshire Constabulary's Roads Policing Unit have created the Steer Clear campaign, which is being launched across the county on October 1.
Throughout October, officers will be carrying out initiatives to raise cyclists awareness of safety on the roads including knowledge of the Highway Code, basic road safety, and traffic awareness. Force intelligence analysts have identified the roads which have experienced the greatest number of cycle casualties, and these routes will be clearly signed to raise awareness of the risks and to encourage all road users to be more alert.
The signs will change over the course of the next year on a three monthly basis dependent on the ongoing analysis.
Steer Clear is supported by British Cycling, its national governing body, and a number of local businesses including Halfords, Hargroves and Wiggle.
During the campaign, officers will be handing out advice and information leaflets to all road users, which also include discount vouchers to help ensure cyclists they have the right protective equipment, lights and safety kit on their bikes. Officers will also be handing out high visibility rucksack covers to cyclists to help make them more visible.
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. Our leaflet highlights key safety tips, and gives you some discount vouchers to help get yourself kitted out properly; think high visibility, check your lights, and remember the Highway Code, it is really important.
"Another vital part of our campaign is raising awareness of road laws. By helping motorists and cyclists avoid road offences, we will in turn be keeping them safer.It is simple stuff which our experience shows is often over-looked. Things like cycling recklessly on the pavement, having no lights on your bike, cycling and driving under the influence of drugs and drink, or more than one person riding on a solo bike.
"An important element will be targeting road users who choose not to stop at a red light or pedestrian crossing. This is very dangerous and a particular risk for cyclists and pedestrians. The Steer Clear campaign will provide targeted education and enforcement activity around all of these areas. We will be focussing on encouraging all road users to grasp the concept of mutual respect. We want to foster a culture of mutual respect between all road users to create a safer environment on the roads. We aim to do this through education, enforcement, and engaging with the public whether they are motorists, cyclists or pedestrians.
"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."