Cyclists: Is your safety being protected?

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Of the journeys that occurred in Britain during 2014, 90% of them were on roads. Over 600 billion kilometres were covered and the most frequent method of transportation was via cars or vans.

From all vehicles used on the road, only 1% was accounted for bicycles during 2014. This is a great 13% decrease in the use of bicycles than seen in 1952, where the official figure stood at 14%.

The number of cyclists on the roads has decreased and a lot of factors could potentially play into this. Safety can be overlooked when the distance travelled by car or van has increased by over 1000%.

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.

What we know about cyclists in the UK:

The British Social Attitudes Survey suggest that of people who are over the age of 18 – 1.5 million of them cycled every day, or almost every day, which is also accounting for the 3% that they surveyed in 2015.

From the British Social Attitudes survey, 34 million also suggested that they rarely cycle, which is a huge difference as it climbs to 69%. Therefore, we believe that the reason we’re seeing less cyclists on our roads is not because they don’t want to cycle on the roads, but because of the lack of cyclists in general within the UK.

England

The Active People Survey, which was carried out between 2014 and 2015 and questioned over 16s, revealed results which were lower than the national average and came to show that only 3% cycled five times per week (1.3 million). It also found out that 15% cycled at least once per month and this goes up to 6.6 million people.

It is understood that cyclists prefer to carry out cycling as a hobby rather than a way to commute to and from work during the working week. This leads us on to discuss the correlation with the nature of the amount of cycling accidents in the UK.

Wales

A survey was carried out in Wales during 2014-2015 and showed that of people over 16, 6% cycled 1-2 times a day and this is close to the 3% of cyclists in England who cycled five times each week.

Scotland

With similarities to England and Wales, in Scotland during 2014 people regularly cycled although they were still below the 10% threshold of the total number of people asked within the survey. 3% of those over the age of 16 used a bicycle 1-2 days each week. Only 2% used one 3-5 days per week and a remaining 1% used a bicycle nearly every day of the week.

Looking over England, Wales and Scotland, we can see that Britain just prefer other methods of travel in comparsion to cycling and that they are probbaly more inclined to take cycling up as a hobby. This could be down to the hazards cyclists face daily on the roads, especially during rush hour.

UK Fatalities and injuries in cycling facts

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents released a factbook for road safety. It declared that during 2015, 3,339 cyclists were seriously injured or killed but also that 18,844 cyclists were injured in reported road accidents.

The relationship between cyclists and urbanised areas

The Cycling Policy Paper released in 2015 shows that from the accidents reported, 75% occurred in urban areas. 50% of fatalities also occurred on urban roads. Around two thirds of these cyclists were involved in a collision at or close to a road junction (with T-junctions and roundabouts being particularly dangerous).

Cyclists may not feel safe due to the number of deaths and serious injuries caused in urbanised areas. Perhaps then there is a correlation between these accidents and a cyclist’s unwillingness to get to work via their bike on UK 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.

3 – 6pm during the working week has been recorded as the most dangerous time for cyclists to cycle. 8 – 9am was also a dangerous hour, when commuters 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.

The safety of cyclists has been impacted greatly by urbanised areas. Perhaps a part of the discussion that has been overlooked is how safety conscious cyclists are when they are out on the roads. Other road users have had a direct impact on cyclist safety and are part of the discussion of how safety conscious they are.

16% of accidents including cyclists did not include another vehicle in the collision. Although cyclists that were involved with another vehicle, 57% of factors attributed to drivers were commonly regarding the idea that the ‘driver failed to look properly.’

20% of collisions arose because cyclists moved from the road to 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 cyclist — this is more common in London. What this reveals, is that when both cyclists and other drivers do not focus properly on the road ahead, unfortunate accidents do and can occur.

Where is Urban Cycling taking us?

There many things that could have an impact on a cyclist and their decision on whether to use their bicycle daily. Their safety in urban areas does seem to play a massive part on their decision making.

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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