This month saw the final of six evidence-sessions, featuring a panel of MPs who have comprised the Get Britain Cycling inquiry. The inquiry’s principal aim is to enable and encourage more people in the UK to regularly undertake journeys by bicycle (at present, cycling accounts for 2% of all journeys in the UK compared to 27% in the, admittedly rather flatter, Netherlands). A final report on the inquiry’s findings and recommendations is expected to be published in April.
The inquiry comes at a time when, statistics suggest, more and more cyclists are sustaining serious injury.
In Great Britain in 2010, 111 cyclists were killed and a further 2,660 sustained serious injury in road traffic collisions. By 2012, these figures increased to 122 deaths and 3,085 serious injuries. In fact, the number of cyclists sustaining serious injury has risen year-on-year since 2004. Cyclists are vulnerable to neck injuries, back injury (including spinal cord injuries) and brain injury. Hospital statistics show that 40% of adult cyclists involved in accidents suffer some degree of head injury, many including brain injury.
The causes of cycling accidents are varied. Common accident patterns involve motorists emerging into the path of cyclists, motorists turning across path of cyclists and collisions where a cyclist is turning right from a major or minor road. A recurring theme appears to be motorists’ lack of awareness of cyclists, a problem perhaps best highlighted by the increasing number of cyclists injured when colliding with (or swerving to avoid) car doors suddenly opened into their path– around 600 cyclists sustained serious injury in such accidents last year.
The statistics prompted Labour MP, Barry Sheerman (who chairs the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport safety) to call for the greater education of motorists
“It is true there are more cyclists but there are people who are not trained enough to look in their mirrors. It is an education challenge, we have got to raise awareness. It is much more likely that there is a quiet cyclist coming past you…..
There are worries about these figures…the number of serious injuries is up to more than 90 – a serious injury means you never walk without pain again.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has recently revealed plans to introduce cycle lanes on a number of the capital’s major roads, aimed at creating a safer environment for cyclists, which would certainly appear to be a positive step. It will be interesting to see whether the Get Britain Cycling report will lead to a similar blueprint for other major UK cities.
If you’ve been injured as a result of a cycling accident, Hilary Meredith Solicitors ltd’s dedicated team of Personal Injury Lawyers can assist in all aspects of your personal injury claim and, wherever possible, will endeavour to arrange the treatment you need to get you back on your bike as soon as possible.