Cycling ‘risky at times’ in London

Parliament is hearing evidence based around the number of cyclists involved in
road accidents in the capital.

MPs have been told that cycling in London can be risky at times, but the dangers are mainly confined to certain accident black spots.

And cycling remains a safe way of getting around the city with care and attention, according to campaigner Ashok Sinha.

Parliamentary investigation

A committee of MPs is taking evidence on road traffic accidents following the deaths of six cyclists in the capital city during a two-week period last month.

And Mr Sinha, chief executive of the London Cycling Campaign, insists the chance of a bicycle being involved in a road traffic accident is linked to a range of risk factors.

As a cyclist, there are places and times in London when you are not protected as well as you should be, and could be facing personal risk, he said.

But he added: “I would say to cyclists, ‘Yes, keep cycling in London, but there are dangers in places and particular circumstances’.”

Mr Sinha told MPs the greatest dangers to cyclists include poor quality infrastructure – and often careless driving by motorists.

Dangerous roads

Political journalist Andrew Gilligan, now London mayor Boris Johnson’s cycling commissioner, quoted figures suggesting the number of deaths per cycling journey had fallen sharply between 2002 and 2012, along with the number of serious injuries suffered by cyclists.

Addressing the issue of London’s dangerous roads, he made the distinction between actual safety and perceived safety.

While the actual safety figures are relatively encouraging, the perception of safety is “much more of a problem”, he said.

Mr Gilligan admitted that a recent survey found that 68% of Londoners believed roads were unsafe.

Cycling fatalities

Metropolitan Police Commander Dave Martin said most of the city’s cycling fatalities involve HGVs.

Mr Martin, whose responsibilities include road policing, told the committee that 52% of London cycling deaths, in the last four years, have involved collisions with large goods vehicles.

He denied there is an ongoing war between cyclists and motorists.

“I would not describe it as a war,” he said. “But there have been things that have caused great concern. People are going through red lights – both cyclists and motorists. And motorists are still using mobile phones at the wheel.”

If you have been injured in a genuine road traffic accident, Accident Advice Helpline‘s specialist lawyers can help you claim compensation.

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