Motorists, cyclists, bikers, runners, ramblers, horse riders and farm workers are being urged to respect each other while they are using roads throughout the Melton borough.
That is the message being promoted by a new ‘Share The Road’ campaign launched by the Leicestershire Police and the Road Safety Partnership.
It focuses on every type of road user and aims to reduce the number of traffic collisions and foster mutual respect among all those who use public highways in Leicestershire and Rutland.
Pc Shaun Gent, from the Safer Roads Team, said: “Now is a good time to launch the campaign because we tend to see a rise in road traffic collisions over June and July as more people are out and about during the lighter evenings and warmer weather.
“This is very much an educational campaign which is looking to change the way that people behave on the roads, rather than simply punishing people.
“This will be reflected in our operational work.”
Car drivers are advised to leave at least 1.5 metres between themselves and cyclists, horse riders and runners and slow down to a maximum of 15 mph when overtaking a horse and rider.
Motorcyclists are urged to read the road ahead to identify bends, not to overtake when approaching potentially dangerous points such as hills and dips, wear high visibility clothing and to make eye contact with drivers emerging from minor to major roads.
The advice for ramblers and runners is use pavements where available, always face oncoming traffic and wear bright clothes.
Cyclists are urged to make their intentions clear and signal early when they intend to turn and to put on lights between sunset and sunrise.
Horse riders should show their appreciation to courteous drivers, wear high visibility clothing and be accompanied by an experienced rider and horse if they are riding an animal which is not used to roads.
For tractor drivers, the campaign says they should pull over when appropriate when they cause tailbacks, maintain a safe speed at all times and to drive defensively.
Lorry drivers are told to pass other users wide and with caution, not to drive too close to the kerb especially when there are pedestrians near and to be aware of the likes of cyclists and horse on their inside.
Bus drivers can also play their part, with advice to keep a safe separation distance from the vehicle in front, to indicate early and to be aware of blind spots to avoid accidents.
Lord Willy Bach, Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Public highways are just that, public.
“They are there for everyone and we should all respect every road user’s right to travel in safety.
“This campaign will help to get that message across.”
Life size cut-outs of every road-using community have been created and are being displayed on notoriously dangerous routes. The safer roads team will then assess road behaviours and respond appropriately.
The force has joined up with some key partners to help share the messages among road users.
Jenny Vincent, head of participation at British Triathlon, said: “We are fully supportive of Leicestershire Police and the Road Safety Partnership’s ‘Share the Road’ campaign and echo their beliefs that the road is for everyone.
“Many triathlon events take place on open roads across Great Britain and we hope the campaign will support educating more road users, triathletes or otherwise, in how to be more respectful of each other.
“We hope, in turn, the number of road-related accidents will reduce and we can continue to attract even more participants into our growing sport.”
Alan Hiscox, director of safety at The British Horse Society, said: “Last year alone, 87 horses and four people were killed on UK roads and 73 per cent of the 845 incidents reported to us occurred due to vehicles passing by too closely.
“By collaborating on this new campaign we hope more drivers will be aware that when they are faced with a horse on the road they should slow down to a maximum of 15mph, be patient and ensure they pass the horse wide and slow, before driving slowly away.
“We also encourage riders to play their part by wearing high visibility clothing at all times and by thanking all road users that pass by safely.”
Jim Freeman, chairman of the British Motorcyclists’ Federation, said: “The BMF welcomes all initiatives that support the rights of vulnerable road user groups.
“As bike riders, we know what it’s like to be ignored by mainstream road users, so we respect those on foot, with four legs and pedals.
“Equally we realise that the forbearance of those on four or more wheels depends on our respecting the rules and not flouting traffic laws, designed to protect all of us.”
Rodney Kumar, spokesman for IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, agreed. He said: “The only way we will make sure there are fewer victims on the road is to share it well.”
And Joe Stanley, from the National Farmers’ Union, urged those using rural roads to ‘expect the unexpected’ and pay attention to farm traffic.
Vehicle drivers can show their support for Share the Road by placing one of the campaign car stickers on their window – these are available from Melton police station.
Go online at https://www.leics.police.uk/sharetheroad for further information and advice being promoted by Leicestershire Police’s Share the Road campaign.