Not cyclists, just British


It is fair to say that the British relationship with cycling is mixed. In London you can find the so called cycling superhighway, but you can also see that 6 cyclists have died in the last 14 days around the capital, with the most recent falling within Road Safety Awareness Week. Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, but we have a lot to live up to compared to the likes of the Netherlands and Denmark.

Cycling Accident

What does the UK do for cyclists?

The UK has improved its provision for cyclists, but it is still lagging behind. The European Cyclists' Federation Cycling Barometer measures statistics such as daily cycling levels, bike sales, safety, cycle tourism and advocacy activity. The result? We're 10th in Europe for bike friendliness.

While this isn't bad, it's still distinctly average.

On top of this, questions should probably be asked about our investment per cyclist. With German cities such as Berlin and Munich investing far less money than us, Germany ranking third for bike friendliness thus seemingly getting a better return on the money they're putting in.

What is the law regarding cycling?

The law for cyclists is not dissimilar to that of drivers. Apart from obvious points such as not paying road tax or compulsory insurance they must, or at least should follow simple safety principles, such as:

  • Signalling when turning
  • Stopping at red lights
  • Not riding on the pavement, outside of designated bike paths
  • Keep both feet on the peddles and both hands on the handlebars, except when signalling or changing gear
  • Have white front and rear red lights fitted to ride at night, as well as a full set of reflectors

While not strictly law, it is highly recommended that you wear a helmet. If you were injured, there is a strong possibility that any compensation payout could be reduced.

What do we do for cyclists?

Road accident specialists should be aware of the problems and dangers experienced by cyclists. For example, while only 5% of London's traffic is lorries, 50% of cyclist fatalities involve lorries.

On top of this, even if a cyclist is partly to blame for a road accident, they should be aware that they can still bring a claim provided a driver was partly at fault.

Love Hate Relationship?

You may have read the recent story of the 10 bystanders in Spitalfields who lifted a Volkswagen Golf off injured cyclist Clare Pepper. While we can but hope that anyone would be helped in such a horrible situation, perhaps this is demonstrative of a change in attitudes towards cyclists.

A BBC journalist was rebuked when they asked Dutch people whether they were cyclists or not, giving the response "We aren't cyclists, we're just Dutch". Perhaps there aren't cyclists and non-cyclists in Britain either.

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