Be A Safer Cyclist

Be A Safer Cyclist

In our new, Covid-safe ‘normal’, cycling seems an attractive alternative to public transport, doesn’t it? The ultimate social distance! Or perhaps cycling is a new hobby begun during lockdown, to make the most of that golden allotted time outdoors. It’s also a great form of exercise. Fitness and a healthy weight are more important than ever, with obesity proven to be a major factor in Covid complications. Many gyms are not yet fully open, while others have permanently closed, so cycling ticks that box, too.

 

Boris Says On Your Bike

In fact, the Government are positively encouraging cycling as both a form of exercise and an alternative to public transport. A July 2020 press release promises “Government’s most ambitious plans yet to boost cycling and walking”. Initiatives include thousands of miles of new protected bike lanes, cycle training for any child or adult, and plans for the “first ever zero-emission transport city”. Straight away, £50 bike repair vouchers are available to encourage bike use.

 

Injury Prevention Week

This week is Injury Prevention Week and with so many new and inexperienced cyclists on the road, it could be that the accident statistics for 2020 will make for grim reading. The most recent statistics are those for 2018 and there are already some sobering figures. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, some 17,550 cyclists were injured in reported road accidents in 2018. Over 4000 of those were seriously injured – or even killed. That number is bad enough, but this is only those accidents that were reported to the police. Many cyclist casualties are never reported, even if the cyclist is hospitalised by their injuries. This figure also doesn’t take into account cycling accidents away from roads. There could be two, even three times as many seriously injured cyclists and double the number of slightly injured.

 

Cycle for Miles

CyclingUK estimate that 3.3 billion miles are covered by the UK’s cyclists over a year, which would imply that cycling is much more beneficial to health than detrimental. However, although cycling accounts for under 1% of road traffic, the cyclists’ share of overall casualties among all road users is disproportionately high:

  • 5% of fatalities
  • 5% of serious injures
  • 3% of slight injuries
  • 9% of all casualties

 

Cycle Safely

Cyclists’ accidents are most common in urban areas. Collisions are most prevalent around junctions. T-junctions and roundabouts are particularly risky, as are faster roads – certainly in terms of serious injury. Cyclists are far more likely to become a road casualty statistic than car occupants. But there are steps you can take to minimise your risk:

  • Be visible! Use lights, and wear colourful, hi-vis clothing
  • Avoid cycling too near to the kerb
  • Take extra care and slow down near junctions and traffic lights
  • Be aware of parked cars with potential to open doors
  • Always, ALWAYS wear a correctly-fitted helmet
  • Avoid distractions – take the headphones or air pods OUT!
  • Wear a helmet camera just in case. Make that visible to drivers, too.
  • Take cycling training

 

Highway Code Updates for Cycling Safety

The Government is working to improve cycling safety and updating the Highway Code accordingly.  The ‘Rules for cyclists’ chapter of The Highway Code will:

  • include references to cycle tracks, cycle signals and new junction designs
  • amend the wording on Advanced Stop Lines
  • clarify the priority cyclists have over other vehicles when going straight ahead at a junction
  • provide advice on cyclist behaviours when riding on a shared use route and giving pedestrians priority
  • recommend that cyclists give way to pedestrians waiting to cross the road at a side road or junctions
  • strengthen advice around the value of cycle training
  • expand the rules on safe riding and crossing busy roads, including recommended procedures for cycling at roundabouts and road positioning

 

Anyone Can Have an Accident

Even experienced cyclists can be the victim of an accident. Whatever your motivation or level of expertise, you can feel particularly vulnerable and at risk of injury on the road.  As a cyclist, you can take every necessary precaution; ride carefully, sensibly and lawfully; always wear your helmet and yet still be the victim of an accident that’s not your fault.

The police and the Department for Transport record “Contributory Factors” in reported road traffic accidents. In 2018, as in all previous years, ‘failed to look properly’ topped the list, with 33,879 instances. Next comes ‘failed to judge other person’s path or speed’, closely followed by ‘Careless, reckless or in a hurry’ then ‘poor turn or manoeuvre’.  The DfT’s data shows that cyclists are less likely to be at fault. In 2018, as in other years, around half of cycles involved in incidents had no ‘contributory factor’ logged against them.

 

Not Your Fault?

So, say the worst happens? You are knocked off your bike by a car driver who failed to look properly, or by a driver in a hurry. What then? The expert legal team at GO-Law can help. You may be able to claim as a cyclist for accident compensation. GO-Law will go the extra mile to obtain the compensation you deserve. This could cover your expenses and loss of income as a result of the accident, as well as any medical bills, physiotherapy and rehabilitation; travel expenses and bike repair or replacement and any other out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the accident.

Cyclists can claim compensation from drivers who have caused their accident. If you are a cyclist and you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, then contact GO-Law today to see if you have a case for compensation for cyclists. Please call Justine or Geraint at GO-Law on 01625 523 838 or email us on gowen@go-law.co.uk.