How safe is cycling?
According to the BBC, there has been a huge fall in the number of deaths among cyclists in the past 80 years. That being said, the number of accidents and deaths caused while cycling is still too high, and needs to be brought down.
Here are some statistics from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA).
- Around 75% of fatal or serious cyclist accidents occur in urban areas
- Around half of cyclist fatalities occur on rural roads
- 75% happen at, or near, a road junction
- 80% occur in daylight
- 80% of cyclist casualties are male
- Almost one quarter of the cyclists killed or injured are children
- Around three quarters of cyclists killed have major head injuries
- In 2013 there were 19,438 cyclist casualties
Stay safe on the road!
Don’t cycle too close to the kerb – Give yourself space on the left and don’t feel you have to cycle close to the kerb if a car behind you gets impatient. By moving further into the road you’ll avoid most drain covers and roadside debris.
Wear protective clothing – Always wear a helmet as this reduces the risk of head injury if you’re in an accident, wearing reflective clothing like hi-visibility jackets will improve your visibility to drivers.
Lights – It is illegal to cycle on a public road after dark without lights and reflectors. To keep within the law, you must have at least – One white front light, one red rear light and reflector and four amber pedal reflectors. It’s vital that you can be seen by oncoming drivers and pedestrians, but will also aid you in seeing the road ahead to avoid hitting road debris, pedestrians and other vehicles.
Make eye contact with drivers – Always be aware of who is around you. Make eye contact with drivers and let them know you’ve seen them. This will tell you if the driver has seen you or not, which is especially helpful before you make a manoeuvre.
Make your intentions clear to other road users – Show drivers what you plan to do in plenty of time and when it’s safe to do so. Always look and signal before you start, stop or turn. Looking over your shoulder while indicating with one hand can be tricky at first, so practise this first when you’re not on the road.
Cycling Etiquette –
- Don’t weave in and out of traffic or change direction suddenly without signalling
- Try to use cycle routes, advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings unless it’s unsafe to do so at the time. It’s not compulsory to use these, and whether you do so will depend on your experience and skills. But they can make your journey safer
- Give pedestrians priority at all times. Some may be partially sighted or deaf and may not be aware of your presence
- Use your bell to inform other road users of your presence. Fit a bell or horn if your bicycle is not fitted with one.
You need to be safe when cycling at all times, but especially in winter. Dark mornings and nights will make you a lot less visible, have a look at Western Industrial Products range of safety clothing!
Article compiled by: Laura Pay-Savage