A CAMPAIGN encouraging cyclists and drivers alike to be more aware of the dangers of sharing roads across the West Midlands has won the support of Worcestershire’s Olympic cycling hero Jessica Varnish.

The 23-year-old cycling champion from Bromsgrove has thrown her support behind the What Matters Most campaign being run by the region’s branches of the Safer Road Partnership and Road Safety GB.

Although the popularity of cycling is increasing following Bradley Wiggins’ success in the London 2012 Olympic Games, the amount of cyclists being killed on the roads is also increasing.

Jessica Varnish said: “I love the ‘What Matters Most’ campaign and hope that other cyclists will spread the word.

“I do ride on the roads myself occasionally so I appreciate the importance of the campaign messages.”

Communications manager for Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police Safer Roads Partnership Vicki Bristow said in-car items such as sat-navs, hands-free kits and places to put food and drunk could be distracting to drivers.

“Driver distraction is often cited as the main reason for a collision involving cyclists, the simple problem being that the driver has failed to keep their attention on the road and has not allowed for the fact they are sharing the road,” she said. “Misjudgement of the amount of space needed to overtake a cyclist is also a common cause for collisions.

“That being said, cyclists also have a part to play in ensuring that they are using the road as safely as possible.

“Rider distraction and failing to look properly often feature in the statistics and the fact that the cyclist couldn’t be seen.

“On today’s busy roads the centre of attention should just be drivers driving safely and cyclists riding safely.”

For more information on the campaign visit whatmattersmost.org.uk