Just how dangerous is cycle commuting?

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.
 

Keith Oates

Janner
Location
Penarth, Wales
Long may the trend last, HJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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.
 
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'.
 
OP
HJ

HJ

Cycling in Scotland
Location
Auld Reekie
beanzontoast said:
Are the 'favourable' statistics due to cyclists being road-savvy and keeping out of danger, or to motorists compensating for the actions of cyclists?
Probably a combination of both, from my experience of cycling in countries where cycling is more common then in Britain.

beanzontoast said:
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.
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.
 
OP
HJ

HJ

Cycling in Scotland
Location
Auld Reekie
Yorkshireman said:
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'.
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.
 

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.
 
You shouldn't be on the road if you don't know the rules
Good point. Cyclists are one exception to mandatory training for road users. (So are horse riders though, and I don't think there's compulsory training for them is there?).

Without all the bikes in Britain being registered in some way and their owners thus also listed and identifiable, it's hard to see how cycle training which included the rules relating to cyclists could be made compulsory. Plus, at/by what age would the training have to be completed?

Unless cycle training was made a compulsory subject in school, perhaps? Maybe that would be as far as we could logically go?
 
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.
 

Alcdrew

Senior Member
Location
UK
Nortones2 said:
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.
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.

beanzontoast said:
Good point. Cyclists are one exception to mandatory training for road users. (So are horse riders though, and I don't think there's compulsory training for them is there?).
Horse riders my not have any mandatory training, but the training involved in learning to ride a horse is a lot more than learning to ride a bike, so I would think who ever is teaching you would also theach you some road rules. Also Car drivers (at least when I was learning) are also taught to be aware of horses and show the respect when meeting them on the road.

I don't ever remeber my instructor saying anything about bikes.

So in that regard I suppose the training has to go both ways. Bikest need to know the rules of the road and motorists need to be taught from the start to show some respect to bikes.

Hairy Jock said:
The best way to make the roads safer for cyclist is to get more cyclist on their bikes using the road.
In one way this is getting at one side of what I'm saying cos the more bikes that are on the road the more motorist will be taught/learn to look out for them.
 

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...!
 

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?
 
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?
 
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