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May 8, 2009

Cycling has been in the news these days. First up news from the UK National Audit Office that the number of cyclists killed and seriously injured on Britain's roads rose by 11% between 2004 and 2007 (in 2007, a total 2,946 people were killed on UK’s roads, thus making it one of the riskiest daily activities be - whether walking, cycling, or driving) despite no significant increase in cycling. Is this due to cyclists' or drivers' behaviour?

The second study (by Cyclists Touring Club, CTC) of the most and least safe places to cycle in Britain, shows that where there are more riders on the roads there is generally a lower accident rate, while in areas less popular for bikes, cycling can be notably more risky.

I've experienced it myself: car drivers here seem to not notice cyclists so much as in some other countries (as The Guardian article includes: "If I took a Dutch cyclist to a British town or city and said, 'What do you think of the cycling facilities?' they would say, 'What cycling facilities? Where? Did I miss them?'"). Much can be done (e.g. in the Netherlands car drivers are encouraged to look out for cyclists because as 'strongest party' they are by default considered minimum 50% at fault in case of any accident; learner drivers are also duly made aware of the 'cyclist species').

The research [5MB] published by the CTC also found that where there are more riders on the roads there is generally a lower accident rate, contradicting a notion that a mass of inexperienced riders taking to the streets brings a spike in injuries and death.

And a last note: if you've done the cycling to get around for your work/ pleasure, when you get home you can relax: no need to then leave the house again and spend time on a stationary cycle at the gym (at a cost of...).

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Posted: May 8, 2009 4:58am


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Rianne ten Veen
, 3
Solihull, United Kingdom
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