Ask any British motorist to identify the biggest pains on the road and the likelihood is that, after a few choice words, they will land on cyclists. Travellers on two wheels, particularly in busy city centres such as London, are seen as traffic-light-ignoring, highway-disregarding menaces.
However, there are two sides to every story and, with the messages of being environmentally friendly and minimising our carbon footprint getting stronger and clearer, is it time for this to change?
Road traffic accidents with cyclists – the figures
Statistics from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) state that, on average, 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured in reported accidents on the road every year. These figures would be significantly higher if unreported incidents were accounted for. The majority of these cycling accidents occur in urban areas, so is enough being done to protect cyclists in these areas?
The answer, if you ask Cycling Weekly, is a resounding no. They say that the efforts to develop cycle networks, with the possible/arguable exception of London, pale into insignificance in comparison to the advances made in countries such as Holland and those in Scandinavia.
Cycling accidents on the road – what’s being done?
Places such as Leicester, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Sheffield and Bristol are just some cities where significant investment, planning and efforts are being made to increase the use of bicycles and the safety for those that do.
The bike hire scheme in London has been phenomenally successful with a wide demographic of people regularly seen getting about the capital on the ‘Boris Bikes.’ However, it still has some way to go before it can be considered a truly cycle-friendly city like Amsterdam.
One limiting factor is, of course, the weather. The idea of cycling through pouring rain, in freezing temperatures or through heavy fog is thoroughly unappealing, no matter how committed you are.
However, the most significant problem is a fear of traffic. In order for cycling in the United Kingdom to truly take off, and, following the successes of Sirs Hoy and Wiggins as well as Chris Froome, Victoria Pendleton, Laura Trott et al, now is the perfect time, then the idea and perception of cyclists as a ‘nuisance’ needs to be quashed.
Remember, if you are injured in a traffic accident, then road injury compensation may be due. Our legal team at Accident Advice Helpline usually settles accident claims out of court. To discuss your claim with a member of our expert team dial 0800 689 0500 now.
Date Published: July 8, 2014
Author: Accident Advice