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News item: Are Britain’s roads just too dangerous to cycle on?

May 9, 2012

A survey indicating that many Britons find cycling on British roads simply too dangerous to bother with has just been released.

The road safety charity “Brake” and the personal injury law company Bolt Burdon Kemp surveyed a large group of commuters to find out what they thought about switching to cycling. Two thirds reportedly said that British roads were simply too unsafe for cycling.

Only ten percent of the surveyed commuters said that they used a bike regularly, but a further twenty five percent said they would make the switch if roads were less dangerous.

Department for Transport figures for deaths inflicted on cyclists show that the numbers have actually risen by about ten percent each year for the last two years, even thought the percentage of cyclists has only risen by 1 percent a year.

Over 100 people were killed while cycling last year, while over two thousand were seriously injured.

Unfortunately it seems that many of these cycle injuries and fatalities are caused by other road users, who are not taking care enough around cyclists. Some of these incidents are hit and run accidents as well, where the cyclist is left to fend for him or herself, while the other vehicle driver drives off, knowingly or unknowingly.

A “Brake” spokesperson related the incident when Donald McNally, a 46 year old Bioengineering student, got hit when cycling home in the East Midlands. He was left with his cycle helmet cracked in four places and fractures in his neck, back and ribs.

Mr McNally said later that although his helmet saved him from being killed, it was up to car drivers to share some of the responsibility when it came to cycle accidents.

In this particular incident, the car that caused the accident left the scene without stopping.

Brake has initiated a campaign called “Cycle for Life” in which local authorities have been urged to bring in 20 mph speed limits in key areas where cyclists share roads with other vehicles as well as segregated cycle ways on commuter routes and near shops and schools.

A 2009 study by the British Medical Association into factors that might lower the number of cycle accidents found that lowering vehicle speed limits to below 20 mph in key areas led to a drop in cycle accidents of more than 17%.

Anybody who is injured as a result of an accident while cycling on British roads where the accident has been caused by another driver is fully entitled to claim for compensation for any injuries received.