Thursday 8 November 2012

Is cycling a problem for road users ?

At CarleaseUK, we have cyclists on our staff, today we were sad to here about the accident last night that Bradley Wiggins had in Wrightington .  Due to other  recent news issues we have been thinking about the effect of cyclists on the road and this is what we think.

Cycling on the roads around theUKhas never really been the safest way to spend your nights, with over 100 cyclists killed already this year,  but figures would suggest that driver awareness and cyclist safety have greatly improved in recent years. What has really made me think about this subject today is obviously this issue with Bradley Wiggins having been involved in an accident which is currently plastered all over the news. It’s not really surprising that this has become such a big deal, Wiggins has not only just won a series of events, with Olympic gold and Tour De France victory under his belt, but is also a big name in campaigning for road safety for cyclists.

Cyclists are unlikely to ever be the safest of road users, there is just too much of them exposed to a collision for them to ever be truly safe. So what is the solution to such a pressing issue? Laws on lights are strict, but helmets lag behind,   but we need to make  other road users aware of their presence and  I think we are doing a pretty good job but not good enough.  It’s rare not to see a bike user at night that isn't in high visibility clothing and most have lights.   It would be very easy to say that there should just be more cycle paths away form the roads that mean that cyclists aren't exposed to the hostile roads but this isn't always practical in built up areas. I’m a big fan of more cycle lanes on roads and allowing cyclists to use bus lanes too, not only do these keep them separated form the main body of the faster traffic but they improve the flow of the roads too. It isn't always possible to have these separated sections available for cyclists however. Whether it be an issue of space or cost, it is inevitable that sometimes they will share road space with those driving  cars and vans and this will always present a level of danger due as well as human error risk.

Having cyclists on your road may seem like a pain sometimes. Trust me, everyone has been stuck behind a cyclist on a small road at 10mph at some point! Commuters that cycle however are doing you a good turn on the road. There are fewer cars which meaning less congestion not to mention a greener planet in the long term. So while there may not yet be a solution to a harmony between cars and bicycles on the road, it is going to be a lot more common going into the future.

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