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Is Road Cycling Safe?

October 30, 2015

  • Cycling on main roads up by 11%
  • 19,000 cyclists killed or injured on the UK’s roads every year
  • The need for bike helmets divides opinion

bike traffic lights

 

Just the mention of the word ‘cyclists’ is enough to boil many drivers’ blood – but as the weather grows progressively colder and the nights get darker, keeping your eyes peeled for riders on the roads is crucial.

While a warm and cosy car might be welcomed on a cold winter’s day, a significant percentage of the UK population are parking up their motors – and with London’s constantly congested transport network causing regular delays, the capital in particular is no stranger to swarms of cyclists taking to the crowded roads.

With around 19,000 cyclists killed or injured on the UK’s roads every year, concerns over road cycling safety are becoming increasingly widespread – and in today’s post, we’re taking a look at the figures surrounding cycling accidents and asking whether road cycling is safe.

Are you a road-savvy cyclist or a motorist driven to despair by unruly riders? Give us a ‘like’ on Facebook and tell us about your road cycling encounters.
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Are 2 wheels better than 4?

car and pedestrian

With puzzling roundabouts and confusing junctions, Britain is home to some challenging roads – and once cyclists are thrown into the mix, road safety becomes a real cause for concern.

Opinion is split when it comes to the UK’s preferred method of transport – and debates over whether wearing a bicycle helmet should be compulsory are doing nothing to ease the frustration of irritated drivers. But with 10.5% of drivers admitting to neglecting to wear their seatbelt, it seems that their dangerous driving habits could also be contributing to the number of road bike accidents.

For those who prefer touring around town on two wheels, getting from A to B is not always an easy feat – and as the war of drivers vs cyclists rages on, it seems these rivals will never find common ground.

Cycling in the city

A photo posted by Simon.D (@sidemp) on

 

Cycling has long been a cause for concern in the capital, with 13 cyclists killed on London roads in 2014 and recent figures showing that eight riders died between January and July this year.

With Boris Johnson championing bike hire, London sees any number of enthusiastic tourists cruising around the city on two wheels. Cycling in London is as popular with locals as it is with tourists, and seen by many as a cheap and environmentally-friendly solution to the city’s transport troubles.

In an article published in June, the BBC reported that the number of cyclists taking to the roads in the capital has significantly increased – and while the Mayor of London is pleased with the cycling population progress, not everyone is happy. With one in every 515,000 journeys resulting in an accident or fatality, campaigners are calling for more safety measures to be put in place to protect the country’s cyclists.

Why cycle?

cyclist
Despite concerns over safety, there are a huge number of reasons why people are trading in their car for a two-wheeler. For those living in heavily congested cities like London, Cambridge and Bradford, cycling is a quicker way to commute – allowing riders to navigate their way through busy traffic and avoid the morning rush.

The fitness and health benefits that come with cycling are also driving more people to invest in bikes – providing the population with an opportunity to combine travel with fitness as they journey to and from work.

With petrol and diesel prices constantly changing, parking up your car in favour of a two-wheeled transport alternative can save you a pretty penny – not to mention offering an array of environmental benefits. But with some cyclists throwing out the rulebook, opinion remains divided over their right to ride on Britain’s roads.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.