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SOUTH WEST

THE ROAD SAFETY PARTNERHSIP WORKING HARD TO REDUCE FATAL & SERIOUS COLLISIONS IN DEVON & CORNWALL

What the figures say

Devon and Cornwall’s annual resident cyclists casualty rate of 17.1 per 100,000 population is 44% lower than the national rate and 31% lower than the South West regional rate.

However, within Devon and Cornwall, Exeter has by far the highest rate of 37.3, which is 54% higher than the overall Peninsula rate. This risk is especially high among affluent middle-aged adult cyclists with families in popular neighborhoods.

Eastern Cornwall has the lowest rate of 11.0, which is 36% lower than the overall Peninsula rate.
RoSPA reports that nationally in 2016, 18,477 cyclists were injured in reported road accidents, including 3,499 who were killed or seriously injured. These figures only include cyclists killed or injured in road accidents that were reported to the police. Many cyclist casualties are not reported to the police, even when the cyclist is injured badly enough to be taken to hospital.

In 2018, 99 cyclists were killed and 4,106 were seriously injured in Great Britain. Although car occupants account for the greatest number of casualties each year, this is unsurprising as cars account for 80% of traffic on Britain’s roads.

Cyclists fall into the ‘vulnerable road users’ category, along with pedestrians and motorcyclists, who have much higher casualty rates per mile travelled than other road users.

It might be assumed that if the number of pedal cyclists on the road rise, the number of cyclist casualties will rise too. However, research has revealed a ‘safety in numbers’ argument that suggests that this may not be the case.

The safety in numbers approach states that in a mixed traffic environment, the balance of different types of road users can affect the relative risk of injury to individuals, suggesting that if more people cycle; the roads will become less risky for cyclists.

The concept of safety in numbers is not new. It was first demonstrated by Smeed in 1949 with regard to motor vehicles. Smeed argued that data from 62 countries indicated that the number of road fatalities per vehicle was lower in countries with more driving.

This concept is now also being applied to cycling. Research by Jacobsen (2003) suggests that when more cyclists are on the road, there are fewer collisions, with data indicating that this is the case in The Netherlands, California and Denmark.

useful FAQs

Safe and responsible cycling involves thinking about and doing five things: 

Making good and frequent observations

  • Make sure you are aware of who else is around you, and how far away they are. 
  • Be aware of potential hazards. 

Choose the most suitable riding position for each point in your journey

  • You should keep at least 0.5 metres (just over 1.5 feet) away from the kerb edge (and further where it is safer) when riding on busy roads with vehicles moving faster than you. 
  • You may ride in the centre of your lane, known as the ‘primary position’, on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings. 
  • If you are riding with others, you may ride 2 abreast, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders.  
  • At junctions with no separate cyclist facilities, you should position yourself as if you were driving a motor vehicle: Position yourself in the centre of your chosen lane, where you feel able to do this safely, to make yourself as visible as possible and to avoid being overtaken. 
  • People cycling are asked to be aware of people driving behind them and allow them to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) when it’s safe to do so. 
  • Take care when passing parked vehicles, leaving enough room (a door’s width or 1 metre) to avoid being hit if a car door is opened, and watch out for pedestrians stepping into your path.
  • Use cycling infrastructure where it makes your journey safer and easier. This will depend on your experience and skills and the situation at the time. While such facilities are provided for reasons of safety, cyclists may exercise their judgement and are not obliged to use them. 
  1. Communicating intentions clearly to others 
  • If there are other road users, you can signal to show them what you plan to do, make eye contact where possible.  

Understanding priorities on the road

  • When turning into or out of a side road, you should give priority to people crossing or waiting to cross. As part of the hierarchy of road users those that can cause greater harm have more responsibility to reduce the risk that they may pose to others. 
  • When you are cycling straight ahead at a junction, you have priority over traffic waiting to turn into or out of a side road, unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise. 
  • You may pass slower-moving or stationary traffic on their right or left. You should proceed with caution as people driving may not be able to see you. 
  • You must obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals.  

Be prepared 

  • Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor.  
  • Light-coloured or fluorescent clothing can help other road users to see you in daylight and poor light, while reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) can increase your visibility in the dark. 
  • You should avoid clothes that may get tangled in the chain, or in a wheel or may obscure your lights when you are cycling. 
  • Wear a correctly fitted cycle helmet that is securely fastened and conforms to current regulations 
  • Your local council and other popular online apps can help you plan your journey by providing maps showing dedicated paths and routes. 
  • Where using shared cycles (private, docked or dockless) wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands before and after cycling. 
  • You should consider improving your cycling through accessing cycle training opportunities in your area such as council-funded or private training with a qualified cycling instructor. 

More helpful links for cyclists:

Find cycle training for schools and more online resources here: Bikeability for students – tips and resources for schools

Stay alert and continually scan for hazards. Use your mirrors to gather as complete a picture of the road environment as you can.

Look for people cycling specifically – the more you expect to see them, the more likely you are to spot them. Make eye contact where possible to show you have seen them. Use your indicators to signal your intentions and look out for their signals, such as if they look over their shoulder or make arm signals.

There are certain situations that are particularly dangerous for people cycling, so take extra-special care when you’re:

  • Emerging from a junction – a person cycling could be obscured by turning vehicles or may emerge from a blind spot.
  • Approaching a junction with a person cycling in front of you – they have less control at lower speeds.
  • On a roundabout where the person cycling is either alongside you or looking to change lanes in front of you.
  • On a narrow street with parked cars and no cycle lanes.
  • If you are able to, you should open your door with the hand furthest from the door, so you can see people cycling or walking behind you. Always check for cyclists when pulling out at a junction or when doing a manoeuvre. People cycling may give parked cars an extra-wide berth, in case of opening doors, so do not force your way past if the street is narrow

Giving people cycling time and space

When travelling at up to 30mph, leave at least 1.5 metres space when overtaking people cycling, and give more space at higher speeds (you should also pass people riding horses at speeds under 10mph and allow at least 2 metres of space. When passing people walking in the road, allow at least 2 metres of space and keep to a low speed).

People cycling may ride in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings. People cycling are asked to be aware of people driving behind them and allow them to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) when it’s safe to do so.

Advanced stop lines at lights allow vulnerable road users (e.g. cyclists) to get to the front and increase their visibility. You must stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red. When the green signal shows allow the other road user time and space to move off.

Don’t turn left straight after overtaking someone cycling. They may not have time to adjust their speed, which could lead to a collision.

Understanding priorities on the road

  • Remember that people cycling straight ahead and people crossing or waiting to cross have priority at junctions, you should give priority to them.
  • You should give priority to people cycling on roundabouts, do not attempt to overtake people cycling within that person’s lane and allow people cycling to move across your path as they travel around the roundabout.
  • Stay out of cycle lanes marked with a solid white line and only drive in a cycle lane marked with a broken white line if its unavoidable.

More helpful links for drivers:

 

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