Midweek Herald launches Safety Matters campaign

Axe Valley Pedallers support initiative.

THE AXE Valley Pedallers are supporting a cycling safety campaign being launched today by the Midweek Herald. Safety Matters is dedicated to the memory of Seaton teenager Kyle Littley, who tragically died last November after falling off his bike, and aims to increase awareness of cycle safety.

Alistair Cope, the founder and chairman of the Pedallers, who is also a cycling guide and consultant, said: “The importance of safety couldn’t be impressed upon more.

“Cycle safety is hugely important. It is essential to maintain your bike, wear clothes to be as visible as you can and to understand how your bike works.”

He added: “As a club we are concerned about issues regarding cycle safety and do our best to ensure members ride safely.”

The Axe Valley Pedallers are considering setting up a bike maintenance initiative. Mr Cope said: “Joining a local cycling club is a way of increasing your confidence and there are levels to suit everyone.”

He has outlined some general tips for staying safe on the roads:

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l It is important for riders to take account of the conditions on the road and ride appropriately for the conditions. However, he admits the wearing of cycle helmets is an issue which has caused a lot debate among riders and members of the Axe Valley Pedallers can decide themselves whether or not to wear one.

He added: “The wearing of cycle helmets is a difficult issue and has caused a lot of debate, but we, as a club, do recommend it.”

l Rider visibility is another important safety aspect that cyclists must take note of. Mr Cope said: “Being visible is one of the best things a cyclist can do. You can get reflective armbands and shirts, as well as bike lights which can be as good as moped or motorcycle lights.

“Lights are not just to be seen they are so a cyclist can see. When cycling in the Axe Valley, it is more important to have these things as we don’t have so many street lights.”

l When cycling on the road, riders must make sure they are seen by passing motorists.

“Try to make eye contact with the driver and ask yourself has the driver seen you. Just before turning, always try to look over your shoulder as it can be life-saving, as someone may not have seen you. “

To get involved in the Safety Matters campaign call the Midweek Herald on (01392) 888485.