This guide will explain how to avoid cycling accidents when out and about on the road.
Below, we’ll take a look at the most common causes of bicycle accidents, examples of hazards for cyclists, and tips on how to stay safe.
Cycling is a great way to travel. It keeps you fit and is also great for the environment. However, cyclists need to bear in mind that they are less protected on the road than car occupants and similar road users.
Drivers are responsible for travelling safely on the roads to protect vulnerable road users. But cyclists also need to learn how to avoid bike accidents.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Bicycle Accidents?
These are the most common causes of cycling accidents in Great Britain, from 2015 – 2020, where the cyclists were tragically killed or suffered serious injury:
- The driver or rider failed to make the correct observations – 3,782 incidents
- The driver or rider did not judge the other person’s path or speed correctly – 1,644 incidents
- Careless, reckless or hurried driving or riding – 1,253 incidents
- The cyclist entered a road from the pavement – 1,092 incidents
- The driver or rider makes a poor turn or manoeuvre – 798 incidents
- Rider wearing dark clothing – 588 incidents
- The rider or driver loses control of their vehicle – 586 incidents
- Travelling too fast for conditions – 389 incidents
- The rider does not display lights at night or in poor visibility – 367 incidents
- Driver or rider impaired by alcohol – 313 incidents
These statistics are taken from the government’s reported road casualties. It’s by no means an exhaustive list but gives you an idea of the causes so that you know how to avoid cycling accidents.
What Are Some Common Cycling Hazards?
All drivers and riders should know how to avoid cycling accidents. However, drivers still pose a danger to cyclists on the road because pedal cycles don’t have any outer shell to protect the rider. So drivers need to take extra care around cyclists.
Likewise, local authorities should maintain highways to a safe standard. Here are some common cycling hazards:
- Drivers not making the correct observations before they turn or manoeuvre
- Dooring accidents, where a car occupant opens their door into the path of a rider
- Potholes in the road, which can flip a bike up.
- Wet and icy weather
- Drivers or riders not making the correct observations at junctions
How To Avoid Cycling Accidents
You may wonder how cyclists avoid accidents on the roads. Anyone who rides a bike can take the following precautions to avoid bike accidents.
How To Avoid Bicycle Accidents
Here are some top tips on how to avoid bicycle accidents:
- Wear a helmet to avoid head injuries and if you are involved in a collision or fall off your bike.
- Wear suitable clothing, such as a high visibility jacket so that drivers can see you at night.
- Cycle 0.5 metres from the kerb, or stay central when riding on a narrow country road and only pull over for cars to pass you when it is safe.
- Make your intentions clear by giving hand signals and try to make eye contact with drivers at junctions.
- Consider getting some cycle safety training, even if you are an experienced rider.
- Watch out for hazards on the road, such as potholes, which can make your bike flip up.
Follow The Hierarchy Of Road Users
In 2020, The Highway Code was updated to introduce the hierarchy of road users. The principle of the hierarchy of road users is that less vulnerable road users are supposed to look out for more vulnerable road users.
So, car drivers would be responsible for taking extra care around cyclists. Likewise, cyclists must give pedestrians space and show them consideration when they cross the road.
Contrary to popular opinion, the hierarchy of road users does not mean that more vulnerable road users like cyclists or pedestrians are not responsible for making sensible judgements to keep themselves and others safe.
Indeed the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that all road users owe one another a duty of care. Therefore drivers and riders are responsible for driving or riding safely and maintaining their vehicles to a safe standard.
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