With tough economic times showing little sign of improving, many people have turned to cycling in an aid to keep down commuting costs. As a result, there have been significant increases in the amount of cyclists being killed on the road. This is far from a shocking revelation, with the Department of Transport releasing statistics to show that with every economic downturn, the cyclist death toll increases. This raises the question: why and how is this happening?
The majority of serious cycling injuries occur as a result of cyclists not looking properly (25%), not judging a vehicle or person’s speed (10%), cyclists heading onto the pavement (8%) and simple reckless behaviour (8%).
Fletchers Solicitors are amongst many to notice a massive increase in personal injury claims being made by cyclists, with large cities such as London and Manchester seeing the highest number of claims being made. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of serious and fatal accidents rose by 10% and these figures are showing little sign of decreasing. What is surprising is that serious accidents and fatalities dropped for all other types of road users (pedestrians, motorcyclists and car users).
Poor urban planning is said to be at the root of this problem, especially in London, where many cyclists are left battling for space in the gutters of the road, a blind spot for many drivers where road surfaces can often be poor. In some cases, cycle lanes have actually proven to be a problem, encouraging cyclists to undertake or remain completely stationary because of the illusion of safety.
What can be done?
Many experts claim that cycling safety and awareness is vital in reducing the number of serious accidents on the road. At one time, cycling proficiency was taught in all schools, however this has since been stopped. If things are to change at a base level, it’s certain that more will need to happen in schools to help teach people how to ride on the roads. This is supported by the fact that many cyclists feel that the roads have never been better for cyclists. That being said, things are far from perfect, with many roads in London, proving to be treacherous traps for cyclists. The solution surely lies in improving cycle safety awareness as well as the roads.
What you can do
If you’re a cyclist who wants to avoid having to look for a spinal injury solicitor, go and sign up to one of the many cycle safety courses in and around your area. It goes without saying, but invest in a helmet! It could well save your life. Investing in anything that can provide visibility – lights, hi-vis jackets and bag covers – is also recommended.