3 December 2009
A report published in the journal Injury Prevention
has revealed that cyclists in the UK are at a much greater risk of an accident needing hospital admission than car passengers. From 1999 to 2004, 35,000 cyclists were injured severely enough to be admitted to hospital in England, compared with 71,000 occupants in cars. On average, more than 637 trips per person are made by car travellers compared with 15 by bike.
Professor Mike Gill and colleagues of the faculty of health and medical sciences at the University of Surrey who undertook the research, argue that unless more is done to make roads in the UK less hazardous for cyclists then plans to encourage more people to switch from cars to bikes will be doomed. Better separation of pedestrians and cyclists from motorists, in particular lorry drivers, and the promotion of a greater awareness among drivers of the risks faced by pedestrians and cyclists, are important factors that are needed to be implemented to improve road safety in the UK.
In cycle-friendly Holland and Denmark cycling is much more popular than in the UK. These countries have much lower injury and death rates. International comparisons show that English cyclists are three times more likely to be killed or injured per mile travelled than their Dutch or Danish counterparts.
Leigh Day and cyclists
Lawyers in the cycling and sports injury team at Leigh Day have represented many cyclists who have been injured after being involved in collisions and crashes on the UK roads. Sadly, they have also had to attend inquests held after the deaths of cyclists who have died, often after being killed by lorries turning left whose drivers are unaware that cyclists are also queuing to turn left.
, partner and head of the cycling team, says:
“Almost always, collisions between cyclists and vehicles are the result of the motorist simply not seeing the cyclist, even though the cyclist is clearly there to be seen. Given the nature of our roads, particularly in built-up urban areas it is often difficult to achieve effective separation between cyclists and other road users. The simplest method must be to improve driver awareness and remove the often used excuse of "sorry mate I didn't see you."
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