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Think Bike, Keep Cyclists Safe

Think Bike, Keep Cyclists Safe

By Swansway Motor Group 08-06-2018

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Its Bike Week from 9 - 17 June 2018. We take a look at what motorists can do to help keep cyclists safer on our roads.

 Cars are safer than ever with multi air-bags, crumple zones and roll bars, but what about the cyclists on our roads? Their only protection is a helmet, other than that they’re unprotected.

When a car is in collision with a bike, the outcome is always much poorer for the cyclist than the driver; so it’s vitally important that when you’re behind the wheel you Think Bike.


Where are cyclists most vulnerable?

  • urban areas – where 75% of fatal or serious cyclist accidents occur
  • road junctions - 75% of accidents happen at, or near, a road junction
  • day-time - 80% of cyclist accidents occur in daylight

The latest ROSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) figures are from 2016 and they show that almost 18, 500 cyclists were injured on our roads. A frightening number, particularly when you consider that nearly 3,500 of those cyclists were seriously injured and 102 were killed.

As a driver, what can I do?

  • Be aware that when a cyclist wants to turn right they have to get across the lane, to the centre of the road. This is a difficult and dangerous manouvere and as a driver you may need to assist by slowing down and allowing the cyclist to pass across your lane. Imagine every cyclist was a friend or family member and help them to cycle in safety.
  • Don’t pass too close to a cyclist, it can cause the rider to wobble, lose balance and fall into the road.
  • Be more bike aware. Instead of seeing them as a nuisance, share the road and remember that around 80% of cyclists also hold a driving licence, they know what it’s like to be behind the wheel.

Car pulling out of t junction and nearly hitting a cyclist


At what age are cyclists most vulnerable?

Figures show that only 10% of cycle accidents involve children, but as they get older and begin to ride on the roads independent of their parents, the numbers rise, 10 to 15 year olds are more at risk any other age group, apart from the over 60s.

This makes sense, as children in this age group are often cycling in the morning rush-hour, going to school and yet have little understanding of road sense; as a driver you can assess the unfolding situation ahead of you and behind you, as a young cyclist, you simply don’t have that experience to call upon.

As a driver, what can I do?

  • If your morning commute takes you near to a school, be hyper-aware of pupils cycling to school; remember if you’re two minutes late for work it won’t matter, but, if a child never gets to school, it’s a life-sentence for their family, friends and you.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for potholes, or other deformities in the road surface; these may be bad for a car, but can be catastrophic for a cyclist and can throw them off their bike and into your path.

Blonde teenage girl cycling across a junction


T-junctions and roundabouts are cyclist hell

Almost two-thirds of the cyclists who were killed or seriously injured were involved in accidents at T-junctions and roundabouts and it’s sadly very easy to see why.

Next time you’re at a roundabout, just take notice of how many drivers on the roundabout don’t use their indicators, making it a guessing game as to which exit they’re coming off. That’s bad enough if you’re in a car, but imagine you were trying to negotiate a roundabout as a cyclist, without the acceleration to get out of trouble if your guess is wrong.

Frightening and caused by thoughtlessness on the part of drivers who simply can’t be bothered to flick on their indicators.

As a driver, what can I do?

  • When you’re approaching, and then driving around a roundabout , use your indicators; let cyclists and, come to that, drivers know which exit you’re taking. If every driver did this one simple thing at every roundabout, the number of accidents would fall.
  • Approach T-junctions with caution; slow down in plenty of time. When you’re waiting to pull out of a junction, look both ways once, then do it again and think bike; a cyclist on their bike is much narrower than a car, van or lorry, so much easier to miss if you only give a glance before pulling out. Always check twice for cyclists.

Correct use of a roundabout


Some drivers are keen to blame cyclists, to accuse them of not looking where they’re going, of not using lights properly at night, of going too slowly or too quickly, of weaving in and out of traffic, of all manner of misdemeanours.

The figures tell a different story and as drivers we should all do everything we can to ensure the safety of cyclists on our roads.

This Bike Week we've also taken a more light-hearted look at the cycling fraternity in our sister blog post!


 

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