Flying The Flag Safely

With one week to go until the opening games of the World Cup, the RAC Foundation has joined forces with the British Motorcyclists Federation today [1st June] to encourage motorists to fly the flag safely.

The RAC Foundation believes that flying the flag can enhance road safety by giving drivers a sense of pride in themselves, their vehicle and their country. The feel-good factor of getting behind the national team can also reduce road rage - there is evidence that flag fliers let other flag-fliers pull out, and are more forgiving if they make a mistake.

But these benefits are lost if the flag falls off the car!

A spot-check of the dual-carriageway A13 revealed an average of three fallen flags per mile, with a concentration around on-ramps where the cars were picking up speed.

The BMF is concerned that falling flags can endanger motorcyclists. One BMF member was hit by a loose flag on the M4 - he says "Have you ever followed a car or lorry flying a flag? If like me you have, you have to be very careful that it doesn't fly off and hit you. I had the flag and plastic mast hit my helmet, luckily I didn't come off but it scared the hell out of me".

The RAC Foundation and the BMF’s flag flying charter advises motorists to:

  • Ensure that the flag is specially designed for car use.
  • Position it so that it can’t interfere with the driver’s vision.
  • Give passengers a warning not to open the window - it’s easy to forget!
  • Make sure the flag is securely held in the gap between the window and the door.
  • Take the flags in before driving on the motorway - driving at speeds above 50mph can shorten the life of the flag to less than one month - and the final’s not till July 9!
If a flag falls or breaks free, the driver is at risk of being prosecuted under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, regulation 100 of which demands that vehicles, parts, or accessories shall be such that they are not likely to cause danger to other road users.

Sheila Rainger, Campaign Manager of the RAC Foundation, said "It is great to see motorists using their cars to support the national team. We want to see flags flying proud - not diving into the gutter, which could result in a penalty."

BMF spokesman Jeff Stone said "We don’t want to be seen as party poopers but a wayward flag hitting a motorcyclist in the face could be a serious own goal. Motorcyclists want to see England win - they don’t want to be brought down by their own side."

1 June 2006 Staff

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