Commuting by bike is much safer than many people think. According to government statistics 1 cyclist is killed on UK roads for every 27 million miles travelled by bike, equivalent to 1000 times around the world. The same statistics suggest you are more likely to be injured in an hour of gardening than in an hour of cycling. A major number of cyclists using the UK roads are adult, with just 11% being under the age of 16, with those aged between 10 and 15 to be at the most risk. In 2014, the numbers showed that 65% of injuries suffered by children and young adults whilst cycling involved males, showing that males are more likely to be involved in an accident than females.
The majority of bike accidents tended to happen in urban areas, with approximately to thirds of serious & fatal accidents being involved in collisions that were in and around road junctions, roundabouts and T-junctions. Also, due to the speed limit on urban roads being between 30 to 60 mph nearly half of fatalities suffered by cyclists happened on these kind or roads. To lower your statistics of being involved in an accident whilst out cycling, here are our top 5 safety tips:
- Be Visible. Most cyclist think that they are far more visible than they actually are. 15% of accidents happen in the dark or low light conditions. Although there is a plethora of lights to choose from, reflective clothing dramatically increases the visibility of a cyclist. Be aware that because of the way the human eye works, a cyclist is far less visible during the times of dawn and dusk, so extra caution is advisable during these times. Being visible doesn’t mean dressing like a clown, since there is plenty of tasteful hi res kit available to buy & wear.
- Don’t be afraid to use the road. A cyclist has as much right to be on the road as any other motorist, so with that in mind, allow space between yourself and parked cars. A fact worth remembering is that a rear passenger is more likely to open their door without looking, & with passenger doors causing more accidents than driver doors, it is advisable to give plenty of room and be aware. A cyclist should give a doors width space between themselves and parked vehicles. Also, don’t ride too close to the kerb, since pot holes and drains are a lot more hazardous and there is an increased chance of getting a puncture. According to cycle-sos 16% of cycling injury claims are as a result of hitting a pothole or defective road surface.
- Don’t undertake large vehicles. Cyclist are allowed to filter through traffic the same as motorcyclists however, do not undertake large vehicles such as HGV’s & Buses, and be aware of vehicles turning left, as a large percentage of accidents occur at junctions. According to cycle-SOS 40% of bike accident claims they handle involve vehicles emerging from side roads and 11% of claims happening whilst on a roundabout. Be conscious that drivers have a blind spot, particularly vans, so take extra care at or approaching junctions
- Respect other road users & avoid confrontation. Should you be on the other end of an aggressive road user, remain calm and polite. The tone of your voice and the words chosen can often defuse a situation, however, it is unlikely to change the mind of an irate drivers’ mind, so just back away.
- Routinely Check your Bike. Having properly working brakes and gears will not only make your ride more enjoyable, it will also make it safer. According to cycle-sos 2% of cycling accident claims occur as a result of faulty equipment, plus if a cyclist has an accident whilst riding a bike with faulty brakes, they could be seen as culpable.
As mentioned in the intro, cycling is a relatively safe and enjoyable activity, it can help toward a healthier life. If though an accident should occur whilst out cycling, it is good to know that there are specialist solicitors, and lawyers in the UK & US that are set up specially to handle your bike accident claim or pothole claims.