Bicycle Safety: Is our safety being overlooked?

admin August 9, 2017 0

90% of journeys that were carried out in the UK during 2014 were on the roads. The most common method to travel was undertaken in a car or van which covered over 600 billion kilometres in that year.

Out of all the vehicles used on roads, bicycles only accounted for 1% in 2014. This is a 13% decrease in cycle use since 1952 when the official figure was at 14%.Cyclists are becoming less common on our roads and this could cause safety to be overlooked when the distance travelled by car or van has increased by over 1000%.

Together with True Solicitors, specialists in bicycle accident claims, we evaluate how safe our roads really are when it comes to cycling, and whether this relates to the small number of cyclists compared to other forms of transport throughout the UK.

Cycling: The Big British Difference

A survey carried out by the British Social Attitudes suggest that people over the age of 18, 1.5 million people cycled every day, or nearly every day — accounting for 3% of the people surveyed in 2015.

34 million of those surveyed suggested that they never cycled, which is a drastic difference. This is a massive leap to 69%. Across the UK then, the dwindling numbers of cyclists on our roads is a direct result of the lack of cyclists across the UK generally – not because they do not like to cycle on the road. However, by analysing individual countries within the UK, the idea that Britain is uninclined to use a bicycle as a form of transport on our roads becomes clearer.

bicycle accident claims

England

A survey carried out by the Active People Survey, whichquestioned over 16s between 2014 and 2015,revealed 3% cycled five times a week (1.3 million) — lower than the national average. The survey that was carried out also found that 15% cycled at least once per month, which equates to 6.6 million people.

From the results, it shows that cyclists perhaps prefer to carry cycling out as a leisure activity rather than a way to get to and from work during the working week.Which as we go on to discuss – does form a correlation with the nature of cycling accidents throughout the UK.

Wales

The survey that was carried out in Wales showed that people over 16, 6% of them suggested that they cycled 1-2 times a day in 2014-2015. This is a similar figure to the 3% of cyclists in England who cycled five times per week.

Scotland

Like England and Wales, people that regularly cycled in 2014 in Scotland were still below the 10% threshold of the total number of people asked in the survey. As a means of transport, 3% of people aged over 16 used a bicycle 1 – 2 days per week. 2% used one 3 -5 days per week, and only 1% used a bicycle nearly every day of the week.

From a national overview, the evidence shows that Britain does not want to use cycling as a form of transportation on the roads. But can this be down to the hazards the average cyclist could face on our roads on a daily basis?

UK fatalities and injuries in cycling facts

Published in June 2017, a RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) Road Safety Factsheet declared that in 2015, 18,844 cyclists were injured in reported road accidents, including 3,339 who were killed or seriously injured.

In June 2017, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents published a factbook for Road Safety. This showed that in 2015, just under 19,000 cyclists were injured in a reported road accident. Over 3,000 were killed or seriously injured.

Cyclists in urban areas

From the recorded numbers, theCycling Policy Paper in 2015 suggested that from these accidents that were reported, 75% of them occurred in urban areas, whereas 50% of fatalities occurred on urban roads. Of this 75% within urban areas, two-thirds of these cyclists were involved in a crash at or near a road junction, with T-junctions and roundabouts acting as particularly dangerous hazards for cyclists.

The largest numbers of deaths and serious injuries that were reported occurred within urbanised areas, the data suggests. This might be the reason why most cyclists do not want to use their bike regularly. Perhaps then, there is a correlation between these accidents and a cyclist’sunwillingness to get to work via their bike on British roads that are in and around city centres, or other areas that include an infrastructure built up of roads that accommodate heavy traffic from other types of vehicles such as cars.

The most dangerous hours of the day for cyclists has been recorded between 3 – 6pm during the working week – otherwise known as rush hour. However, 8 – 9am is also dangerous as this is when commuters are using other modes of transport when travelling to work. However, the research also notes that the severity of the accident is heightened by the speed limit and how fast the cyclist is travelling – with more serious and fatal injuries occurring on roads with a higher speed limit. Although urbanised areas and other road users have a direct impact on the safety of cyclists, perhaps a part of the discussion that has been overlooked is how safety conscious cyclists are when they are out on the roads.

20% of collisions arose because cyclists ‘entered the road from the pavement’ – whereas 20% of collision fatalities occurred because a HGV was turning left at a junction or they were ‘passing too close’ to the rider, especially in London. What this shows, is that when both cyclists and other drivers do not focus properly on the road ahead, unfortunate accidents do and can occur.

16% was accounted for accidents that did not include another vehicle, while 57% of the factors that attributed to accidents with another vehicle were commonly regarding the idea that the driver did not carry out the proper safety precautions.

Urban Cycling

Safety for cyclists is one of their key considerations when deciding whether they want to cycle every day, especially in urban areas. Infrastructurally, roads within these areas could accommodate more dedicated cycle lanes that could help to prevent accidents at junctions occurring. If the safety and future of cycling on a regular basis is to be guaranteed then, roads need to be accessible and usable for everyone, not just the most popular forms of road transport such as cars, vans and taxis.

Sources

http://www.cyclinguk.org/resources/cycling-uk-cycling-statistics#How many people cycle and how often?

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/514912/road-use-statistics.pdf

https://www.rospa.com/media-centre/press-office/press-releases/detail/?id=1360

https://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/cyclists/cycling-accidents-factsheet.pdf

https://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/cyclists/cycling-policy-paper.pdf

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