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3 March 2011

MPA Holds Successful Pilot Event for National Cycle Safety Scheme

On 1 March the Mineral Products Association (MPA), in partnership with local aggregates company Smith and Sons (Bletchington) Ltd, held a successful Cycle Safe event in the centre of Oxford.  This was the pilot event for the MPA’s national Cycle Safe awareness campaign which has the aim of preventing collisions between cyclists and lorries by raising awareness on both sides of how to cycle and drive safely.

With backing from Oxford University Estates, Thames Valley Police, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford Cycle Workshop Training,the all day event took place in the historic Radcliffe Square, near the Oxford University’s colleges.  The event gave cyclists the opportunity to sit in the driver’s cab of an aggregates lorry to experience visibility and learn about safety issues.  Over 100 cyclists of all ages visited MPA’s Cycle Safe stand during the course of the day, where they also picked up safety literature and free high visibility vests. 
Oxford University Estates held a useful Safe Cycling Seminar, in parallel, in the Sheldonian Theatre.  The seminar, which was open to the public and put on with the help of Oxford Cycle Workshop Training, offered practical advice on how to deal with tricky situations safely when cycling.

Elizabeth Clements, spokesperson for MPA, said, “We are really glad that so many cyclists dropped by to visit us and that the event got such a positive response. We feel it was a very valuable pilot event and will provide a firm foundation for a national roll out of our Cycle Safe campaign in the near future.

“We will feed the information we gained from cyclists into the campaign and incorporate it into driver training.  We are also glad that cyclists had the chance to experience the driver’s viewpoint to further help promote safe cycling and driving.”

Paul Needle, Transport Manager at Smith & Sons (Bletchington) Ltd, said, “We really appreciated listening to the cyclists’ perspective, as well as showing them what drivers see from the cab. Smith’s already have plans to run a similar event again next year with the support of relevant organizations.”

Thames Valley Police were represented at the Cycle Safe event on the day, reinforcing the importance of road safety to passers-by, as well as focusing on bike security and offering to register the bicycles of visiting cyclists to protect against theft.

Sergeant Matthew Sulley said, “Thames Valley Police were more than willing to send a team of officers to support MPA in Radcliffe Square, as road safety is an important area of our work and MPA’s Cycle Safe campaign and pilot event is helping to promote this.

“We would certainly be prepared to offer our backing again in the future if and when the event is repeated.”

Jonty Semper, Director of the Oxford Cycle Workshop, said, “We are very pleased to support this event. As a community owned cooperative we welcome opportunities to share our knowledge and experience on safe cycling. We offer both on road cycle training and cycle maintenance courses direct to the public - and in partnership with local employers. Working with employers is a great way to get the safe cycling message to large group of people in a short lunch time talk.”

MPA hopes to build on the experience gained from organizing this pilot event in order to officially launch the campaign later in the year and run more Cycle Safe events around the UK.


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