Safer roads for cyclists?
The Chichester Observer newspaper ran a story on 21 November 2014 “A year on from my horror bike crash”, about a young cyclist who suffered dreadful injuries when knocked from his bicycle by a careless driver. It is a sad fact that there has been an increase over the last 2 years in the number of cycling deaths and injuries, as more people have taken up cycling, encouraged by the “Wiggo effect”. Our personal injury lawyers know only too well the devastating consequences of the serious brain, spinal and other injuries suffered by our cyclist clients. As cyclists ourselves, we know just how dangerous our local roads can be. A cycle ride this time of year should be a pleasurable experience, but all too often it is marred by potholes, narrow roads, obstructed or non existent cycle paths, noise, pollution and the risk of being knocked off.
As highlighted by the Times’ “Cities fit for cycling” campaign (launched following a cycling death in London), the government now has a legal duty, under the Infrastructure Act, to develop a longterm strategy and budget to promote cycling. This is supported by Sir Chris Hoy who looks forward to the day when the roads are safe enough for him to go out for a bike ride with his young son, without fear of serious harm.
We have a real opportunity to take cycling to a new level, for it to become “mainstream”, and hopefully dispel the tensions and “red mist” that sometimes descends. Not all cyclists are blameless, of course, (and we get really cross when we see bikes without lights, jumping red lights etc), but cyclists are particularly vulnerable, and are so often “not seen” by inattentive motorists, often at roundabouts, junctions, or when making turns. It is in the interest of all that cycling safety is improved, and it is heartening to see that the Times’ campaign is supported by the AA.
We therefore hope that there will be proper funding and “joined up thinking” to create and maintain a national network of proper/ dedicated cycle routes to remove the fear factor from cycling, further bolstering the number of cyclists. This in turn should reduce the number of car journeys, cutting congestion and pollution and promoting health and fitness, with resulting savings to the NHS. It remains to be seen just how high “safer cycling” climbs up the new government’s list of priorities.Personal Injury Blog