Road safety is a major concern for cyclists. It's the main reason given for not cycling. The statistics do however show the risks to be significantly lower than most people perceive.
In Britain there’s one cycling fatality per 31 million miles cycled. To put this in perspective a cyclist would need to cycle over 12,000 times around the world or for 21,000 years (at an average of 4 miles per day) before being involved in a fatal collision.
The latest Government statistics reveal that per mile travelled a pedestrian is just as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as a cyclist.
Add into the equation that a regular cyclist is as fit as someone 10 years younger and likely to live 2 years longer and there’s a case for saying its actually safer and certainly healthier to cycle than not to cycle.
|Urban cycling courtesy of Freepik.com|
Here’s how to cut your chances of an accident even further:
- Keep your bike and especially your brakes in good working order. Many cycling accidents don’t involve other traffic.
- Learn how to ride your bike well, assertively and with confidence.
- Know and respect the Highway Code. Always be polite and considerate to other Highway users.
- Be aware of the traffic around you, think ahead and check over your right shoulder before giving clear signals and changing your road position.
- Ride in a position where you can see and be seen and especially at junctions and roundabouts. If possible make eye contact with other road users.
- Don’t cycle in the gutter or too close to parked cars. Give yourself a metres space to your left in case you need to move into it or avoid a car door or pothole.
- Never ‘undertake’ large vehicles or cars that are or could be turning left at a junction. This is how most serious cycling accidents happen.
- At advanced stop lines wait in a central position, even if turning left.
- Use lights and wear bright or reflective clothing especially in towns, at night and in bad weather.
- Consider wearing a helmet to protect against low impact collisions, but don’t expect it to do much more than that.
- Watch out for pedestrians and ring your bell or give a polite audible warning to let them know you’re there.
The definitive training manual on safe and enjoyable cycling is “Cyclecraft” by John Franklin. Push Bike! members have also been working with the Safer Roads Partnership to help raise awareness with cyclists and motorists about how to make cycling safer locally. www.whatmattersmost.org.uk