POLICE are warning cyclists to take care on Craven roads during the coronavirus lockdown.

Cyclists are taking to the roads as a means of allowed daily exercise and making the most of roads reduced to levels of traffic not seen since the 1950s, say police.

But, they still need to take their safety seriously, and to observe new rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Officers have also noticed an increase in novice cyclists and families using the quieter than normal roads and is asking them to take special care and to observe safety advice, such as making sure bikes are roadworthy and to watch out for HGVs, which are still using the roads and may be travelling faster than usual.

The Government currently says just one form of exercise is allowed every day outside of the home, whether it is for a run, cycle or walk, either alone or with members of your household.

The instructions add that people must minimise the time you are out of your home, and to stay at least two metres away from others who are not members of your family.

Sergeant Kirsten Aldridge, of North Yorkshire's major collision investigation team, said: “While North Yorkshire roads are quieter, there are still lots of things cyclists need to be mindful of.

“Firstly, quieter roads have led to some drivers dramatically exceeding the speed limit.

"While we’re trying to enforce this as widely as possible, it puts cyclists and pedestrians at significant risk."

She added: "Secondly, the government measures make it clear that cyclists need to practice social distancing and should only ride alone or with people from the same household.

"Please remember that, as our officers are out on patrol ensuring people follow these rules.

“Finally, we’d remind drivers that they should always expect the unexpected around each corner, especially at the moment, and pass cyclists at a minimum distance of 1.5 metres when it is safe to do so.”

Officers have also noticed that many new cyclists are taking to the roads, including families with children who have started cycling as their one-a-day form of exercise.

Police are asking novice cyclists to follow the advice:

* Plan your journey in advance and advise someone of where you are going and when you intend to return, especially if you are cycling in a remote location.

* If you are riding as a family with young children, consider riding routes with dedicated cycle paths to ensure the safety of young children and pedestrians.

*Please remember that if you are cycling on the roads that vehicles such as HGVs, are still regularly travelling routes in order to move much-needed supplies. Large vehicles might scare and unbalance young children on bicycles when overtaking them.

* Ensure that your bicycle is road-worthy. If it has been unused for a while, ensure that the mechanisms such as brakes and gears are working and that tyres are pumped up before starting any ride. Brake failure can cause a serious collision.

*Think about your positioning in the road and whether you can be seen by other road users. Wearing reflective clothing and ensuring that your bike is fitted with lights and/ or reflective discs helps with visibility. Assuming a position towards the centre of the lane where possible maximises the rider’s line of vision and means that other road users have a clear view of you.

*If you are riding with protection around your face ensure that this does not restrict your head movement and that you are able to look around freely without restriction so that safety checks can be carried out.

* If you’re riding with your family, help motorists overtake you with the safe distance of 1.5 metres, promoted by our Close Pass campaign, by filtering down to single file.

* Effectively communicate with other road users, by using hand signals when turning left or right. Try to make eye contact with other road users and pedestrians to ensure that they have seen you.

Sgt Aldridge added: “As long as people follow the Government’s rules about how they exercise and observe social distancing while they do it, we want to give people the knowledge they need to ride safely.

“North Yorkshire is a beautiful county with a strong cycling scene and 6,000 miles of roads. That’s plenty of road for everyone if all road users stick to the law, take sensible precautions and look out for one another.”