The AA has launched a new campaign on the back of polls which suggest a vast majority of drivers find it hard to see cyclists and motorcyclists.
In a recent AA-Populus poll of 17,629 drivers, 93% of respondents admitted they sometimes find it hard to see cyclists and more than half (55%) were often ‘surprised when a cyclist appears from nowhere’.
In a previous AA-Populus poll relating to the visibility of motorcyclists, the corresponding figures were 85% and 57% respectively.
As a result of these findings the AA, with support from British Cycling and The Motorcycle Industry Association, has today (7 March) launched a national “Think Bikes” awareness campaign.
Initially one million free stickers will be distributed to drivers as a reminder to do a ‘double-take’ in their mirrors for cycles and motorcycles in their blind spots. The AA suggests that the cycle sticker is placed on the passenger’s side and the motorcycle one on the driver’s side.
The campaign also includes a short youTube film titled ‘Now you see it’, which features a naked cyclist.
The campaign was supported at its launch by the Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman, who is also British Cycling’s policy adviser, and 20-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness.
Free stickers will be available from all Halfords outlets and distributed by the police and directly to AA members in renewal and joining packs.
Think Bikes is part of the AA’s New Deal for road users campaign, under which all road users agree to stick to the rules of the road and treat each other with respect.
Edmund King, AA president, said: “The AA Think Bikes campaign is definitely needed when half of drivers are often surprised when a cyclist or motorcyclist ‘appears from nowhere’.
“Those on two wheels never appear from nowhere so as drivers we need to be more alert to other road users and this is where our stickers act as a daily reminder.
“Likewise riders need to be aware that they may not always be spotted by drivers.
“We hope that this campaign can reach the parts that other campaigns can’t reach.
”Greater awareness alongside education, enforcement and improved infrastructure will make our roads safer for all.”
Chris Boardman said: “This move by the AA is a welcome step in creating a culture of mutual respect between all road users.
“We know that cyclists and drivers are often the same people – nine out of 10 British Cycling members also drive a car. This sticker campaign reflects the importance of looking out for everyone on the road, regardless of what form of transport they use.
“Looking left and giving way to cyclists is a crucial part of improving safety on the roads. This is what happens on the continent and it should become part of our culture too.
“This campaign will undoubtedly contribute to promoting safer driving habits on the road.”
John McGuinness said: "I definitely feel safer riding my bike on the track than I do on the open road. On the race track or at organised road racing events, you are riding alongside people who are acutely aware of their surroundings and the presence of other bikes.
“In the real world however, this is not always the case as too many drivers simply don’t ‘see’ bikes and this can create a dangerous situation."