A new “Think Bikes” campaign has been given the full throttle backing of Lancashire motorcycle ace John McGuinness.
The 20-time Isle of Man TT winner, nicknamed the Morecambe Missile, has joined the drive to get car drivers to pay more atttention to bikers and pedal cyclists.
“As a professional motorcycle racer, I definitely feel safer riding my bike on the track than I do on the open road,” said John, 41, whose last Isle of Man win came last year in the six-lap Senior TT.
“Too many drivers simply don’t ‘see’ bikes and this can create a dangerous situation.”
Research has shown as many as 93 per cent of motorists admit it is sometimes hard to see cyclists while driving, according to a survey of nearly 18,000 drivers.
More than half (55 per cent) said they were often “surprised when a cyclist appears from nowhere”, the AA/Populus survey showed. The results came as the AA and the AA Charitable Trust, with support from British Cycling and the Motorcycle Industry Association, launched a “Think Bikes” awareness campaign.
Initially one million free stickers will be distributed to drivers as a reminder to do a ‘double-take’ in their mirrors for cycles and motorcycles in their blind spots.
It is suggested that the cycle sticker is placed on the passenger’s side and the motorcycle one on the driver’s side.
AA president Edmund King said: “Our campaign is definitely needed when half of drivers are often surprised when a cyclist or motorcyclist ‘appears from nowhere’.
“Those on two wheels never appear from nowhere. So as drivers we need to be more alert to other road users.”
Among those involved in the launch is British Cycling policy adviser and former Olympic cycling champion Chris Boardman. The former World and Olympic champion said: “This move by the AA is a welcome step in creating a culture of mutual respect between all road users.”
The AA/Populus survey, of 17,629 adults, also found that 54 per cent reckoned pedal cyclists were inconsiderate road users, with males (57 per cent) more likely to believe this than women (47 per cent). Drivers in London were t most likely to look out for pedal cyclists, while drivers in Wales and Northern Ireland were least likely to do so. Asked about motorcyclists, 40 per cent of drivers in the poll said motorcyclists were inconsiderate, with this number increasing to 46 per cent among Londoners and 49 per cent among drivers aged 25-34.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “This is a brilliantly simple idea which, if widely adopted, will undoubtedly save lives - and it reminds us, too, that cyclists and drivers have a common interest in looking out for each other.”