Safety Boost For Cyclists In Pembrokeshire

Safety Boost For Cyclists In Pembrokeshire


Thursday 18th Jul 2019


A new campaign has been launched to improve road safety in Pembrokeshire.

‘Close Pass’ aims to remind motorists to give a 1.5m safe passing distance when overtaking cyclists.

More than 100 signs highlighting the safe passing distance have been put up on roads around the county.

The hi-visibility signs target popular cycling routes including Ironman, the Tour of Pembrokeshire, Wales Long Course and the National Cycle Network.

“Research has shown that a third of all confrontational incidents which take place between drivers and cyclists are related to close passes,” said Cllr Phil Baker.

“This initiative aims not only to improve safety but also the relationships between all road users.”

The Close Pass campaign has been launched by the road safety team at Pembrokeshire County Council with Sarah Hitchen, whose husband, Tenby Aces cyclist Jason Hitchen, was seriously injured while cycling on the A4139 near Manorbier in August 2017.

Jason was airlifted to Morriston Hospital following the collision, which took place while he was training for Ironman.

His injuries included six double fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, shoulder dislocation, muscle and tissue damage, several cuts and bruises – and he was told he would never do a triathlon again.

Incredibly, Jason completed the Long Course last year, following eight gruelling months of rehabilitation, and completed the event again this year.

Sarah said the campaign aims to make a ‘real difference’.

“The number of people cycling on our roads has risen drastically and we need to create a better environment for everyone – drivers and cyclists,” she said.

“We also need motorists to slow down and be more conscious of the need to leave an adequate gap between themselves and other road users.”

She said the campaign was very close to her family’s hearts. 

“We’re trying to turn a negative situation into a positive and save other people’s lives,” she said. “We don’t want anyone else to have a phone call from the police saying their loved one has had a serious accident.”

Cllr Phil Baker praised Sarah’s determination to raise awareness of the issue and her work on the campaign.

And he said it was important that there is mutual respect on the road.

“Vulnerable road users such as cyclists and horse-riders need space on our country roads too,” he said. “They share our roads and are exposed to other traffic.

“You may be in a hurry but be patient; before you overtake them, make sure you have given them enough room as they could adjust their road positioning unexpectedly for a pothole or drain.”

 

Caption

Pictured are Sarah and Jason Hitchen and their daughter Ella, who has raised awareness and funds for the Welsh Air Ambulance since her father’s accident. Also pictured is Cllr Phil Baker, Road Safety Officer Kirstie-Anne Donoghue and Transport Planner Clare Williams.