How Safe is Cycling?
Every year more and more people are cycling on Britain’s roads. In Great Britain, it is estimated that over a third of the adult population cycle. Whether people are cycling to work or for leisure, cyclists have to compete with other vehicles on the road for space. This raises questions about whether cycling is a safe way to get about.
The latest available figures on a cycling show that each year the number of cyclists, both adult and children, involved in road accidents is around 20,000. Of these, around 100 cyclists die on our streets. On top of this, there are over 3,000 cyclists who will suffer serious injuries. Most cycle accidents often happen in urban areas where there are the most cyclists. Of those killed or seriously injured, two-thirds are involved in a collision at a road junction.
When it comes to safety, most cycling accidents happen in daylight hours. The chances that a cyclist will find themselves in an accident rises during the hours of 3.00 to 6.00 in the afternoon and between 8.00 and 9.00 in the morning. Should a cyclist experience an accident at night, the likely outcome is that it will prove to be fatal for them.
Types of accidents and injuries
The most common type of accident a cyclist may encounter are:
- Drivers pulling out into the path of cyclists.
- Drivers cutting across the cyclist’s path.
- Cyclists riding into the path of a vehicle.
- Where the cyclist turns right from a road.
If they experience an accident, the most common type of injuries that cyclists might receive are limb injuries, especially to the arms. Although not so common, cyclists may also suffer chest or abdomen injuries in an accident. Over 40% of cyclists may also suffer head injuries in a cycling accident. For those suffering head injuries, the severity can range from fatal or life-changing to minor cuts or concussions.
Cycling on Britain’s roads is seen as a relatively safe activity. Over the last five years, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured has stayed steady. Although numbers are high, compared to motorcycles, the risk to cyclists of an accident is a lot lower. Reducing bicycle accidents means ensuring that everyone using the roads knows how to drive and ride safely.