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The AA’s Think Bike initiative is marking its 10-year anniversary





More than a quarter of those killed on the UK’s roads in 2022 were on two wheels, says the AA, which is marking 10 years of its ‘Think Bikes’ campaign.

The breakdown organisation says 350 motorcyclists and 91 cyclists were among 1,711 road deaths in 2022 according to the latest statistics – despite those on two wheels making up just 2.75% of the miles travelled when compared to cars.

Cyclists and motorcyclists account for a quarter of road deaths. Image: iStock.
Cyclists and motorcyclists account for a quarter of road deaths. Image: iStock.

While the number of motorcyclists killed has risen slightly since 2014 – up five per cent – the number of cyclists fatally hurt has fallen by 20%.

The number of riders injured has also fallen – with 15,693 cyclists hurt in 2022 and a drop of 25% on 2014 figures – and 16,943 motorcyclists hurt, down almost 17% on 2014 statistics.

However new research conducted by the AA has revealed that 89% of drivers questioned in a recent survey agreed that ‘it’s sometimes hard to see cyclists’ – supporting calls by the breakdown organisation for drivers to be ‘more alert’ to those on two-wheels.

An AA survey saw almost nine in 10 drivers admit ‘cyclists can be hard to see’. Image: iStock.
An AA survey saw almost nine in 10 drivers admit ‘cyclists can be hard to see’. Image: iStock.

A decade of ‘Think Bike’

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the ‘Think Bikes’ initiative – an award-winning campaign reminding people to look out for those on two wheels.

It was the brainchild of former AA patrol member Tony Rich following the death of his friend in a crash and in the course of the last decade has been adopted by 24 countries around the globe.

The campaign, which originally encouraged drivers to place small ‘Think Bikes’ stickers in their side mirrors, is still as relevant today, says the AA, as it was 10 years ago and its promotion will continue.

The original campaign included stickers for people's mirrors. Image: The AA.
The original campaign included stickers for people's mirrors. Image: The AA.

Edmund King, Director of The AA Charitable Trust, said: “It is now 10 years since we launched our Think Bikes sticker campaign. But unfortunately the message is still as relevant today as it was a decade ago.

“Cyclists and motorcyclists make up just 2.75% of miles travelled compared to cars but account for more than one quarter of road deaths. This is why it is essential to spread the message again to all drivers to think bikes.”

Recent developments to improve the safety of cyclists and motorcyclists has included changes to the Highway Code in January 2022, that included a “Hierarchy of Road Users” and introduced new rules on road positioning for cyclists and passing distances for drivers.

The AA is encouraging drivers to adopt the Dutch Reach when opening the door. Image: The AA.
The AA is encouraging drivers to adopt the Dutch Reach when opening the door. Image: The AA.

Using the Dutch Reach

In 2022, according to government data, 373 cyclists and motorcyclists were injured by car occupants opening their vehicle doors.

While this is a drop on previous years, says the AA, it believes a safety technique called The Dutch Reach would bring numbers down further if more car users adopted it.

The Dutch Reach involves opening car doors from the inside with the hand that is furthest from the door handle, giving you a chance to check your mirrors and blind spot before pushing open the door.

It’s been used in the Netherlands since at least the 1970s and the breakdown organisation believes more cyclists and motorcyclists could be protected if it was more widely adopted here.

Craig Carey-Clinch, Executive Director of the National Motorcyclists Council, added: “Ten years on and Think Bikes is just as important as it was when launched, if not more so. The message is also now internationally important, and we all have a duty to share the road and to look out for each other.

“With motorcyclists being among the most vulnerable of all road users, it’s vital that the Think Bikes message continues to be driven home to all road users.”



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