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Just how dangerous is cycle commuting?

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by HJ, 28 Jul 2007.

  1. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Location:
    Auld Reekie
    I have been cycle commuting on a regular basic for over 13 years (before that my cycle commuting was only sporadic), in that time I have never felt that what I was doing was in any way inherently dangerous. Yet I often hear people saying that they could cycle to work because it is too dangerous.

    Just recently I came across a report from the NHS entitled Cycling – the actual risks which makes for interesting reading. The key points of which are, as a means of transport walking is more dangerous that cycle, Cycling in Britain is safer than driving in some European counties, Cycling is far safer than driving anywhere, Cycling gets safer as it gets more popular, and that There is no known example in recent decades when an increase in cycling led to an increase in cyclist deaths.
     
  2. Keith Oates

    Keith Oates Janner

    Long may the trend last, HJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  3. beanzontoast

    beanzontoast Veteran

    Location:
    South of The Peaks
    Are the 'favourable' statistics due to cyclists being road-savvy and keeping out of danger, or to motorists compensating for the actions of cyclists?

    Cycling may not be as dangerous as some other forms of transport, but IMO these comparisons can lead to a false sense of security. The dangers are there for the unwary. If we were to suggest that cycle commuting is not dangerous, we would be just as at fault as those who scare people off from trying by saying it is too dangerous to contemplate. The truth lies somewhere in between.

    Surely every commuting cyclist should be made aware that there are dangers. I've seen cyclists perform risky maneuvers on busy roads, sometimes getting away with it, sometimes not :thumbsup: and I'm convinced it isn't bravado on their part leading to trouble, more lack of awareness of the danger in the first place.
     
  4. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman New Member

    I don't know if the statistics show separate figures for cyclists commuting, cyclists touring, cyclists recreationally riding or even people/kids on bikes just ... mucking about, as that could show a different light on cycling 'accidents'.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Location:
    Auld Reekie
    Probably a combination of both, from my experience of cycling in countries where cycling is more common then in Britain.

    I would recommend that all cyclist should be fully aware of the Highway Code and read Cyclecraft. The rules of the road are there for a reason and apply to everyone.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Location:
    Auld Reekie
    The figures don't separate out the different types of cyclists, but the general principal applies that greater percentage of cyclist on the road, the lower the rate of cycle fatalities.
     
  7. Alcdrew

    Alcdrew Senior Member

    Location:
    UK
    Maybe an unpopular opionion, but I feel that anyone on the road needs to pass a road awarness test at the very least. Car drivers do this by showing they can drive in a controled manner, when doing there test, OK most completely ignor everthing they have learned after passing.

    But cyclest don't need to pass anything, and that has to be dangerous?

    You shouldn't be on the road if you don't know the rules and have showen that you know.
     
  8. beanzontoast

    beanzontoast Veteran

    Location:
    South of The Peaks
     
  9. Nortones2

    Nortones2 Über Member

    Its motorised traffic, largely unregulated, causing the risk. Not walkers, nor cyclists whose capacity to cause damage is minimal in comparison. If the liability was slanted to the self propelled rather than motorised users of the highway, the issue would be less starkly weighed against cyclists et al. The cynical clearance from the streets of other road users, in the UK, is because of the presumption that the motorist must prevail.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Location:
    Auld Reekie
    In the report which I refer to (there is a link here in case you missed it above) shows clearly that the more separation between the modes of transport, the higher the levels of fatality of those using non motorised transport. The best way to make the roads safer for cyclist is to get more cyclist on their bikes using the road.
     
  11. Alcdrew

    Alcdrew Senior Member

    Location:
    UK
    Yes motorists have the capacity to cause more damage. But damage to what? If your on a 10kg bike, and you hit a car, not too bad, the car might get a scratch and teh bike might need it's wheels truing, but if a 1 ton car hits a bike that a differant story.

    So as a bike user of the road you are more at risk, be it your or someone elses fualt, but if you have been given road training in you specific means of transport then you will be more aware as to what and when things can go wrong, so look out for them more. Making you safer on on the road, not for user users but for yourself.

     
  12. yenrod

    yenrod Guest

    Hairy, it is a bit more dangerous as people in cars REALLY want to get somewhere !

    I've done it on and off ove the years but've recently done it quite alot BUT the last time cost an new pair of wheels + £30...

    They're not messing around - waiting for things to happen that shouldn't (like we all know how you should approach the road)...

    Still, you've got to watch it if you do commute...!
     
  13. palinurus

    palinurus Guru

    Location:
    Watford
  14. col

    col Veteran

    I remember maaaany moons ago taking my cycling proficiancy test as a youngster,does anyone else remember these,doesnt seem to be happening now,but the good news is that in my town they are getting youngsters out on bikes with trained instructors,iv sometimes seen 10 plus all with their viz vests on going through the basics at junctions.A step in the right direction for cyclists at least eh?
     
  15. beanzontoast

    beanzontoast Veteran

    Location:
    South of The Peaks
    Col - which is why I think, if sport/p.e. is compulsory in schools up to a certain age, why not build in compulsory cycle training as an element? Admittedly there would be logistical problems to overcome (equipment cost - assuming situations where own bikes couldn't be used - for one) but surely the benefits would be worth it in health/safety/environmental and cycling promotion terms - even maybe starting off some in the sport?