A NEW campaign has been launched to raise awareness of cyclists on North Yorkshire's roads.

Think! Bike is a poster and billboard campaign across the county which urges motorists to drive with the safety of pedal and motor cyclists in mind, and has been set up by North Yorkshire County Council and North Yorkshire Police on popular cycling and motorbike routes.

The first billboard went up in Harrogate this week, and more will appear around the county in the run up to the Tour de France in an effort to reduce the number of casualties on North Yorkshire's roads.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for public health and member for Harrogate, said: “It’s great to see people getting on their bikes to enjoy this beautiful county, take exercise and keep fit, but we want them to stay safe as well. This latest initiative aims to tackle the problem of driver error in road casualties involving cyclists and bikers.”

The campaign has launched in the same week that statistics were released showing an increase of more than 60 per cent in the number of fatalities on the county's roads in 2013 on the previous year, with motorcycle fatalities more than trebling from five to 16, and an increase in cyclist fatalities.

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick of North Yorkshire Police said: “We are urging drivers, motorcyclists and people riding pedal cycles to pay attention, not only to their own behaviour, but also make themselves alert to other people using the roads.

"Vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclist should also ensure that they have the most appropriate protective and highly visible clothing and equipment."