Cyclists pedal a friendlier message
THEY are often accused of being the bane of the motorist, but a new campaign is hoping to project a different image of Edinburgh's cyclists - by encouraging them to mind their manners.
The "Bike Polite" code, which is said to be a first in the UK, has been launched by cycle lobby group Spokes and aims to reduce the number of confrontations and accidents involving bikes.
The code covers four of the main problem areas - shared footpaths, canal towpaths, red traffic lights and riding after dark.
It includes advice to cyclists to say thanks when allowed to pass on a footpath, and reminds them to stop at red lights.
Spokes will also distribute more than 10,000 reflective ankle bands carrying the "Bike Polite" message through the police and city bike shops.
Ian Maxwell, of Spokes, said: "This campaign is necessary because of the increasing number of cyclists in Edinburgh.
"Although the vast majority of cyclists behave properly, we do receive complaints about the reckless or selfish behaviour of some cyclists.
"Unlike the driver stuck inside a car, cycling is a sociable activity, and we recommend that cyclists say hello and smile at people when riding past.
"Cyclists who ignore red traffic lights are forgetting their responsibilities as road users, and the code reminds them that they are traffic too, so should stop at red traffic lights. The final point in the code is a reminder to use front and rear lights after dark."
The number of cyclists in Edinburgh has been steadily rising for a number of years.
A Spokes study in June showed cyclists now make up a fifth of all rush-hour traffic on Lothian Road alone.
Police and council chiefs today welcomed the initiative but also called on drivers to improve their behaviour.
Paul Richardson, road safety manager for Lothian and Borders Police, said: "This is a great idea and I hope it will encourage better behaviour from cyclists.
"The message about the lights is particularly important at this time of year - around one in six cyclists are out at night without lights and it is dangerous, not just for them but also for other road users.
"But it is worth remembering that while we get complaints about cyclists' behaviour there are just as many complaints about drivers' behaviour.
"All road users have a responsibility to show a duty of care to others but the increase in cyclists on our roads means this focus is welcome."
City council transport leader Councillor Phil Wheeler added that he was sure the campaign would be a success.
ADVICE FOR CYCLISTS
Canal tow paths: Slow down when passing pedestrians and at bridges.
After dark: Use front and back lights so you can be seen.
Shared paths: Slow down, ring bell, say thanks when passing.
Traffic lights: You are traffic too, so stop at red.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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