A CAMPAIGN urging drivers to be aware of cyclists on the roads has been launched in a bid to prevent casualties.

North Yorkshire Police has teamed up with North Yorkshire County Council to launch the 'Think! Bike' campaign through posters and billboards, the first of which went up last week, in a bid to reduce the number of casualties and to prevent road deaths.

Recent figures from the council's road safety analysts showed that there has been an increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured on Ryedale roads from 2011.

County councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire's Executive Member for Public Health said: "This latest initiative aims to tackle the problem of driver error in road casualties involving cyclists and bikers.

"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."

Statistics from the council also showed a rise in the number of cyclists injured across North Yorkshire in the last ten years, with the number of killed or seriously injured increasing from 47 in 2012 to 52 in 2013.

The figures cause particular concern as more people take up cycling ahead of the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire.

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick of North Yorkshire Police said that cyclists and those on motorbikes should make sure they wear suitable protective gear and high-vis clothing when needed.

He 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."

The council is also working with British Cycling through their SkyRides programme offering free cycling opportunities across the county. For more information email skyride@britishcycling.org.uk.