How to be aware of vul­ner­a­ble road users

Middleton Guardian - - MIDDLETON PEOPLE -

AS we make the same com­mute ev­ery day to work and back, we can get used to see­ing pedes­tri­ans on the streets, mo­tor­cy­clists on the road and even a few cy­clists ap­pear­ing now that the sea­son is of­fi­cially chang­ing.

But this can some­times mean we get a lit­tle too used to the things around us and may un­in­ten­tion­ally stop pay­ing at­ten­tion to our sur­round­ings. Richard Glad­man, IAM Road­S­mart’s head of driv­ing and rid­ing stan­dards, pro­vides a set of tips to re­fresh your knowl­edge on how to man­age vul­ner­a­ble road users.

• Check to see the type of pedes­tri­ans around you. Do you see an el­derly per­son cross­ing the road? They may be walk­ing slowly so en­sure they feel safe by re­duc­ing your speed. Chil­dren can be eas­ily dis­tracted and are un­pre­dictable too, es­pe­cially when cross­ing the road, so do all you can to help them out.

Drive with care and be vig­i­lant as a few ex­tra sec­onds added to your day may make all the dif­fer­ence.

• A cy­cling club will of­ten cy­cle as a group rather than in sin­gle file. This makes it safer for all of us; a sim­ple over­take on a short group is of­ten eas­ier and safer to achieve than 30 over­takes on sep­a­rate cy­clists. Be­fore you over­take them, make sure you have given them enough room as they could ad­just their road po­si­tion­ing un­ex­pect­edly for a pot­hole or drain. A few sec­onds de­lay is bet­ter than a life­time of re­gret. It’s al­ways good to re­mem­ber that a young, fit in­di­vid­ual on a bike is likely to be more sta­ble than an older per­son do­ing their shop­ping run.

• Take note that there are two types of mo­bil­ity scoot­ers. Class 2 scoot­ers are only al­lowed on pave­ments and have a top speed of 4mph. Class 3 mo­bil­ity scoot­ers should be reg­is­tered and are driven on the road with a top speed of 8mph. Bear in mind that this group of road users may have re­stricted move­ment, vi­sion or hear­ing so give them plenty of space and time.

• Have you thought about tak­ing a more scenic route now that the days are get­ting lighter for longer?

You may come across a horse and its rider walk­ing along the side of the road. To avoid scar­ing the horse, turn the ra­dio down and keep the en­gine revs low. Slow down and take your time when pass­ing a horse. Keep your car well away from them and pro­ceed with cau­tion. The Bri­tish Horse So­ci­ety cam­paign en­cour­ages ‘Wide and Slow’ which re­it­er­ates driv­ing no more than 15mph and leav­ing at least a car’s width gap.

• Who has heard of SMIDSY (“Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”)? This is a reg­u­lar acro­nym in a mo­tor­cy­clist’s dic­tio­nary and of­ten our strat­egy when look­ing for a cul­prit!

The sci­ence be­hind this is called Sac­cadic Mask­ing. The sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion is that peo­ple don’t see clearly when their head or eyes are mov­ing, and they don’t pick up ob­jects trav­el­ling to­wards them very well.

So make sure you have a good look, not just a quick glance. A good tip is that if you’re specif­i­cally look­ing for mo­tor­cy­clists or cy­clists, then you are more likely to see them.

Richard said: “The im­por­tance of shar­ing the road space and un­der­stand­ing the needs of other road users can­not be stressed enough.

“If we are aware of vul­ner­a­ble road users, we can make pro­vi­sions to keep us all safe.

“Re­mem­ber to treat oth­ers how you would like to be treated.”

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