My interest in motor vehicle laws and traffic statistics from other countries has been mentioned here before. This guest post from Bartlett Personal Injury Solicitors discusses bicycle safety in the United Kingdom, but the safety tips are equally applicable to the United States.
The week of 19th – 25th November was used by road safety charity, Brake, for their latest initiative ‘Road Safety Week’ so a post recognising the dangers that cyclists face on the roads seemed rather fitting. More specifically, this post will talk about the road safety of cyclists in the UK. This topic also fits quite suitably with the news of Team GB’s Bradley Wiggins’ collision earlier this month.
United Kingdom police reports from 2011 show that out of over 19,000 documented incidents, over 3,000 cyclists were seriously injured and over 100 were killed in road accidents. These figures are only compiled from incidents that were actually reported to the police so experts speculate that the true figures could actually be two to three times as many.
Cyclists’ biggest fears are hit and run incidents, where a cyclist is knocked off their bike by a motor vehicle who fleas the scene rather than help the injured cyclist. This is a common occurrence that daily cyclists try to avoid, but the hatred between drivers behind the wheel and riders on wheels seems to be growing out of control. A simple search on YouTube will show clips from cyclists daily commutes where they will face such hazards as drivers failing to stop at red lights, vehicles entering the cycle lane, being forced out of the road at pinch points and plenty more. In fact, many cyclists have given up their passion and decided to use public transport as a method of commuting as they feel much safer.
Many believe the solution is to implement a Dutch style cycle infrastructure, where cycle lanes are built separate to the road, usually with some form of curb to keep cars and cyclists away from each other. Cycle tracks have two lanes, one for traffic going each way, along with sign posts and junctions for cyclists crossing roads. Traffic lights are usually present at these junctions with one set for motorists and a smaller set for cyclists, in some places though, cyclists can bypass traffic signals allowing them to make more efficient journeys.
Here are some tips to make your journey safer:
- ALWAYS wear your helmet.
- Make yourself visible – wear bright clothing and use your lights after dark.
- Look, then signal before you make a turn.
- Stop for traffic lights – follow the same rules as cars.
- Anticipate drivers’ next actions. Think ahead.
- Try not to hold traffic up – stick to single file.
- Expect to see cyclists and act accordingly
- Look out for cyclists before turning and use your signals.
- Give cyclists considerable room – expect sudden movements and allow space.
- Share the road. Cyclists are trying to get from A to B too.
Road accidents between motor vehicles and bicycles are very serious and a lot of people can be affected by them. Companies such as Bartlett Personal Injury Solicitors who specialise in injury claims and compensation are experts in dealing with road traffic accidents and could help you to fight for your compensation. Whether your accident involved a motor vehicle, or if you have been injured because of the quality of the road, you could be entitled to compensation.