A list of do’s and don’ts for cyclists have been released by the TTC Group after the worrying rise in cycle deaths and injuries.
Cycling participation rates are increasing massively year on year with many new cyclists taking to the roads for the first time.
With that has come the unfortunate rise in road accidents involving cyclists. With 113 cycle deaths in 2014, up 14% and the total number of cycle deaths and injuries on UK roads up from 19,438 in 2013 to 21,287 in 2014, Nick Moon MD of Cycle Experience, part of the TTC Group says “cyclists can avoid becoming a casualty by following the rules of the road and watching out for the actions of other road users.”
Deaths among cyclists aged over 60 show the highest increase of 28%, rising to 32, while 337 were seriously injured, up 20%, and 948 slightly injured, a rise of 14%.
Overall there was a 16% increase in deaths and injuries among the over 60s on two wheels. Among the 18 to 59s, there were 75 killed – the same figure as the previous year, and 2,645 serious injuries in that age group up 9%.
There were 14,093 slight injuries up 10% and a total of 16,813 deaths and injuries, again a ten per cent rise in one year.
There were six deaths in the under 17 age group, a welcome reduction of a third but there was no change in serious injuries which remain at 381, while a 5% increase in slight injuries to 2,369. Overall there was a 4% increase in deaths and injuries among the under 17s.
Nick Moon, said: “Cycling is more popular then ever among all age groups and we must ensure everyone who chooses to take to two wheels is a safe as possible.
My advice is to attend a cycle training course. You learn all the do’s and dont’s of cycling and it may save your life.” Some of the key do’s and don’ts which are relevant to all cyclists but particularly those new to the roads or returning after a long absence include:
Do: Always check your bike is roadworthy and ‘fit for purpose’ by carrying out a simple check before you set out on your ride. Prepare before your journey.
Decide your route, what clothing you need and don’t be in a rush Ride one metre away from the kerb so you are easier to see, you won’t be squeezed up against the pavement and you can avoid the hazards of the gutters which can be full of rubbish, potholes and drain covers.
Be aware of others using the road be they motorists, fellow cyclists or pedestrians. Remember it is not necessarily what you do but often the actions of others that can be dangerous and cause accidents. Stay behind a lorry, give it plenty of space and never go down the inside channel.
A lorry driver cannot see you. When overtaking look behind early and try and make eye contact with the driver behind. Put yourself in the main flow of traffic until safe to move back towards the kerb. Be assertive – you are a road user and motorists behind will have to wait for you to make your manoeuvre if you are in front of them. You are not blocking their route.
Communicate with other road users and pedestrians and don’t be afraid to use your bell or shout to give warning of your presence. Use signaling as required to let other road users know your intentions Make sure you have good visibility both in front and behind you and if wearing a helmet and/or hat make sure it does not obscure your view.
Wear clothing which is appropriate for cycling and in which you can be seen. Hi-Viz does make good sense. Ensure you have lights on your bike and switched on not only at night but also in bad light. Get some cycle training and/or attend a safer cycling course.
Enjoy the experience of cycling which is fun and keeps you healthy.
Weave in and out of parked vehicles when overtaking. Stay out until safe to return towards the kerb.
Cycle on the pavements unless using a cycle path
Cycle at speeds inappropriate for the road situation Ignore traffic signs and traffic signals.
If riding on the road follow the rules of the Highway Code
Rush your journey
There are a variety of courses for the experienced and novice cyclists to learn about hazard perception, road position, traffic signs, defensive riding, and how to protect themselves from lorries and buses. There are also course especially for city cyclists, commuters, families, women only, Bikeability courses for schools and balance bike teaching for youngsters learning to ride.
There are also targeted and practical on road courses and theory sessions for lorry drivers aimed at helping them to protect vulnerable road users and for commercial and public sector organisations to make cycling safer for employees. Visit www.cycleexperience.co.uk or call 0845 434 8451 to learn more.