GUEST COLUMN: Brighten up for darker days, by Coun Kevin Greaves

Pedestrians and cyclists should wear bright clothing
Pedestrians and cyclists should wear bright clothing
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At the end of October, we turn the clocks back by an hour signalling the end of British summer time.

It’s an important time to remind everyone of road safety advice. Evenings will become noticeably darker, with dusk falling as early as 4pm – just as schoolchildren are travelling home and rush hour begins. As winter progresses, it will also be dark on school journeys in the morning.

We once again urge youngsters to wear fluorescent or bright clothing in the daytime and reflective material at night to make them more visible to drivers. At the same time, motorists are being urged to use their headlights so that not only can they see other road users but they, themselves, can be seen. Drivers are also being advised to check their lights now to ensure that they are all working properly.

By wearing or using reflective items, pedestrians and cyclists become visible at 150 metres, giving drivers five times the distance to notice and avoid them, than they would be without having these items.

Motorcyclists should ensure they are as visible as possible from the side as well as the front and rear, wear fluorescent/reflective clothing during the day and evening to improve their chances of being seen, keeping dipped headlights on during the day can also improve visibility.

Cyclists should have their front and rear lights lit, have red rear reflectors and amber pedal reflectors, and have white front reflectors and spoke reflectors. They should also wear bright, fluorescent and reflective clothing.

This timely reminder is just one example of the great work done by colleagues in the road safety team.

Another road safety initiative which is currently underway this autumn across the county is the relaunch of Ditch the Distraction – an award winning campaign devised by the county council to remind children and teenagers to keep their mobile phones, headphones and iPods away while they are using the county’s roads. Countless research studies show that thousands of pedestrians across the UK often cross roads while using a gadget without paying proper attention.

The campaign aims to reduce the number of accidents involving 11 to 18 year old pedestrians – many of them involving young people wearing headphones or with their heads down using their phones.

Remember, be safe and be seen.