Why it is one of the best and most dangerous times to be a cyclist
It has become quite apparent that there has been a vast rise in the number of cyclists on the road and this is expected to continue. You would not be mistaken in thinking that you are out by the Amstel in Amsterdam with cyclist levels increasing by up to 300% on certain days since lockdown in comparison to the same equivalent day in January or February. With the government implementing the ‘Fix Your Bike Voucher’ (worth £50.00) as well as the government looking to invest £250 million on improving cyclist paths, pavements and bus routes, it has never been a better time to get into cycling.
A recent poll from SYSTRA suggested that 61% of the British Public are now nervous to take public transport post-lockdown. This along with the cycle to work scheme allowing for savings of up to 39% of a new bike (through your employer) means that it is likely that this rise in cyclists will continue in years to come.
However, this rise in cyclists also means a rise in cycling accidents. Between 23rd March (the first day of lockdown) and the 24th April, cyclist fatalities doubled in the UK. This may be a result of many factors. Road traffic was at levels not seen since 1955, so the average speed of vehicles (both bicycles and motor vehicles) was higher. This led to situations where bicycles and cars would collide due to either party speeding above what would be recommended and expected under normal road traffic levels.
Minor changes in the road environment can have unexpected effects on accident levels too. In the period of the clocks changing in October (when it becomes darker earlier), it has been reported that there can be up to a 25% increase in road traffic claims. With conditions likely to worsen as the year goes on (due to light and wet/icy road conditions) but a sustained rise in cyclists, this means that there may be many inexperienced cyclists dealing with new conditions. This mixed with the gradual increase of road users, because of lockdown easing, could mean that there is a significant rise in accidents in the coming year.
It is important to remember that as a cyclist, you should be wearing a cycle helmet and high visibility clothing and displaying clean and working lights when sharing the road with other road users as well as ensuring that you are using hand signals to show your intention to change direction. Remember that you cannot control what everyone else does, but you can keep an eye out to ensure you are as prepared as possible if it does.
Accidents do occur and if the accident is not your fault, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries, the damage to your bike and any other financial losses you incur. Lyons Davidson have a dedicated cyclist and pedestrian team with specialist case handlers to ensure that our clients get the compensation they deserve.
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Posted on Aug 20th, 2020 by Lyons Davidson