Britain’s Bike Boom: Do you know how to stay safe on the road?
The government has committed £2bn to boost the number of people cycling across the country over the next five years.
As part of its ambitious plans to “build a healthier, more active nation”, it has pledged to overhaul the Highway Code and enforce quality control on new cycle lanes in an effort to make UK roads safer for cyclists. While it clearly recognises that public safety is a key priority, more education is needed among drivers and cyclists to address these safety concerns.
Lockdown encouraged millions of us to take to our bikes and it’s no wonder the government wants to continue this upward spiral – cycling alleviates pressure on crowded public transport systems and congested roads and switching from cars to bikes is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to cut emissions. But, there are still fears among cyclists about the lack of cycling infrastructure and a poll in 2009 revealed that almost 60 per cent of people are put off cycling by the idea of sharing the road with lorries or reckless drivers.
As more and more novice cyclists take to roads up and down the country, we ask how strong is their knowledge of the Highway Code now they’re on two wheels?
SO, WHY DO WE NEED TO KNOW THE RULES OF CYCLING?
With the Prime Minister actively encouraging more bums on bicycle seats, we can expect to see the number of cyclists on our roads continue to increase as we ease out of lockdown.
This is a potential issue for a few reasons, though. While the Highway Code is tested for car drivers, no test is required to if we want to pick up a bike and get cycling. This, in turn, could mean a high number of new cyclists who have little knowledge of their rights on the road.
Not only that, but many of these new cyclists will have enjoyed travelling on previously very empty streets in the midst of lockdown. How will they fare when moved to busy roads and faced with congested junctions, and how will drivers cope with more people on the roads?
The government has promised to set out plans that will force local authorities to build new high quality cycle infrastructure – with a strong preference for segregated lanes. It has even revealed plans to give cyclists the right to ride in the wrong direction on one-way streets and proposed to reduce ‘unnecessary motorised freight’ like lorries and vans in UK cities and towns, by shipping freight to out-of-town depots. Our Head of Litigation Niamh Wilson was recently quoted in the Daily Mail exploring these topics in more detail.
Overall, these measures are welcome, but they will take time and even with these in place there needs to be more education and clearer messaging around safety awareness, so cyclists and drivers are fully aware of the rules of the road and the severity of the potential consequences if they are not followed.
COULD WE SEE AN INCREASE IN ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS?
With inexperienced cyclists, we’re likely to see a rise in road traffic accidents, sadly. We already see huge numbers of road traffic accidents involving cyclists, where both the cyclist and car user have been at fault.
Recently, we settled a claim for cyclist, Pat from Bootle. While cycling home from work, he suffered a collision from a car who hit him due to the driver failing to give way to him as he travelled straight across a roundabout. Sadly, he suffered a fractured skull, dislocated right shoulder, broken ribs, fractured collar bone and skin abrasions. Fortunately, he made a fantastic recovery and was fully healed within two years of the accident.
Following a court case, we settled his claim for £25,000. This covered his costs for physiotherapy post-accident, as well as for his bike plus further compensation for damages.
DO YOU KNOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD?
While many of us should, hopefully, be very aware of the Highway Code for drivers, just how good is our knowledge of the rules for the road as a cyclist?
With conflating public opinion on cycling issues like, can you cycle on the pavement, do you legally have to wear a helmet and more, we’re putting the question to the public – give it a go and let us know how you get on…
Have you been injured in a Road Traffic Accident?
If you’ve been injured on the road due to an accident that wasn’t your fault, then you could be entitled to claim road traffic accident compensation. Whether you’ve suffered a minor injury or something more serious, our Road Traffic Accident Solicitors can help you to claim the compensation that you deserve.
Call 0800 888 6888 or send an email to email@example.com.