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First Stages 'Cycle Swap Me' Event

Transport Company Briefs Bus Drivers And Cyclists On Road Safety


A major transport company has come up with an innovative new way to improve safety standards on the UK's roads.

First staged its 'Cycle Swap Me' event in Bath at the weekend (October 5th), where cyclists and bus drivers were given the opportunity to swap positions for a day.

Backed by the Sulis Scorpions bicycle club and training organisation Bikeability, the event enabled people to see what hazards bus drivers and cyclists have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Once they had seen things from the other group's perspective, the road users were able to share their experiences and think of new ideas that would help bus drivers and cyclists to coexist in a more harmonious way.

Figures recently released by the Department for Transport showed the number of cyclists being killed on the UK's roads increased in 2012. This is despite the fact overall road casualties fell when compared with previous years.

Some 118 riders were involved in fatal accidents last year, which was up from 107 in 2011.

The government wants to see more people using pedal power, as it looks to significantly reduce the nation's carbon emissions. However, these statistics highlight the urgent need for more road safety campaigns that encourage all drivers to look out for cyclists.

First said it was hoping to introduce more Cycle Swap Me events across the south-west of England in the future.

The company's regional customer services manager Natacha Tagholm insisted it was an excellent way for the organisation to connect with the growing number of people who are choosing to travel around on bicycles.

Richard Lewis, First's business manager for Bath and Wells, added, "We want to continue to do all that we can to improve our drivers' understanding of the habits of other road users.

"We hope that this event will also give some of Bath's cyclists an insight into how best to stay safe and visible on the roads."

Expert Opinion
Having seen first-hand numerous cases when people have suffered serious long-term injuries as a result of road collisions, it is welcome to see innovative schemes like this organised to raise awareness of the issues which different types of road users can face.

"This concept is all about putting drivers and cyclists into each others’ positions on the road, allowing them to understand their situations and ultimately ensuring they are aware how their decisions affect others.

"The number of cyclists being killed on roads is believed to be falling, but there is still much work to be done to reduce such deaths further. Many more cyclists are seriously injured every year in the UK as well. I hope that we will see other initiatives and campaigns like this developed in the future. Well done to those involved – great idea!"
Neil Whiteley, Partner