7 September 2016

Cyclists and school runs: stay alert on the road this week

Unless you’ve been staying in a retreat in some far-flung location, chances are that you’ll be aware that The Tour of Britain 2016 multi-stage cycling race is taking place around Great Britain this week, with our very own Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish along with over a hundred other renowned cyclists from around the world competing in teams to finish with the fastest time.

Tuesday saw the riders snake past Carrot Insurance’s very own headquarters [watch our video on Facebook] in Crewe, Cheshire, as part of Stage 3 in which the cyclists rode from Congleton to Tatton Park near Knutsford, on a route including the gruelling A537 dubbed the Cat and Fiddle road after the inn sharing the same name, which is the second-highest pub in England.

Tour of Britain 2016 photo by SweetSpot1

Photo: official Tour of Britain by SweetSpot

If the Tour of Britain 2016 is passing near to where you live, study, work or need to travel to for some other reason, bear in mind that there will almost certainly be a number of road closures, especially at and near to start and finish locations. Rolling road closures will also take place as the riders pass through various towns and villages en route and some of these real-time closures could last longer than others depending on how bunched up or spread out the riders are. To stay up-to-date with the latest route and closure information, keep checking the official Tour of Britain 2016 website.

Like with any sporting event, such as Wimbledon which excites the British public into buying loads of strawberries and cream and playing tennis on courts and even in the street, the Tour of Britain is guaranteed to relight the fire of many amateur and professional cyclists, so don’t expect the roads to suddenly become cyclist-free once the event finishes this Sunday. Knowing what to do when encountering an individual cyclist or a group can be quite daunting for young and newly-qualified drivers, so for great safety advice, check out the recent ‘Sharing the road with cyclists’ section on our blog.

Back to school

This week is also a big one for many children and teenagers across the UK, some of them going to junior school for the very first time, whilst others will be feeling slightly phased but no doubt excited to find themselves starting secondary school.

Motorists have enjoyed the (relatively) blissfully quiet roads over the last six weeks or so, but the start of this week likely brought many drivers back to reality with a bang as schools went back, roads suddenly clogged with school buses and school run parents again.

School run road safety children


Road safety charity, Brake, have found that 40% of drivers surveyed admit to occasionally still driving at 30mph in zones clearly marked as 20mph, which are typically located near schools. Over 50 children under the age of 16 lost their lives on British roads in 2014 and over 2,000 were injured, most of them walking or cycling at the time.

Speed limits are there for a reason and although driving at 20mph might feel like you’re not moving, it will give you a much greater chance of being able to stop in time if a child runs into the road three car lengths’ ahead in the distance. Driving at 30mph, they’d have no chance, or very little indeed.

In the Cheshire town of Warrington, not all that far from Carrot Insurance’s base in Crewe, they found that pedestrian and cyclist road casualties reduced by over a third when a 20mph speed limit was tried out in some areas.

Schools 20mph road safety - young and newly qualified drivers Brake charity


“All parents want to know their children are safe while travelling to and from school and playing outdoors. Speed limits are in place to keep all road users safe and if tragedy strikes and a child is hit by a car, the speed it is travelling at could be the difference between life and death”, says Alice Bailey from Brake. “20mph limits benefit our communities in so many ways, keeping them safer, cleaner and greener. If people feel they have to drive, the lower speed limit will have a negligible impact on travel times and bring so many other positive effects”, she adds.

If you can’t avoid driving near schools on your journeys, remember that children as well as things like footballs can appear in the road at any time, delays are common and you’ll need to deal with queues of school buses, so plan ahead and try not to get wound up. Be patient with lollipop men and women, too, as they do a great job in protecting our younger people.

If you managed to snap a photo or grab a video of the Tour of Britain passing through, we’d love you to share it with us on Twitter or Facebook.

Oliver Hammond

Written by Oliver Hammond

Oliver is an established freelance motoring writer, published journalist and automotive copywriter based in Manchester. He regularly reviews cars and covers events and launches as editor of petroleumvitae.com and his articles appear in various magazines each month. No relation to Richard from Top Gear, he’s got a weakness for luxo-barges, proper 4x4s and oddball cars.