Every year in the UK, thousands of cyclist are injured or killed on our roads. In fact, during 2013 alone, more than 100 cyclists were killed, and nearly 20 000 were injured to varying degrees. Despite some council areas trying to address the dangerous situation by designing bicycle lanes on major roads and driver education campaigns playing out on our TVs, the number of cyclists involved in preventable accidents is appalling.
This carnage on our roads inevitably leads to thousands of personal injury cases being brought by victims of careless or reckless drivers. Many such cases are successful, and it is the role of our legal professionals to assist victims in these types of personal injury cases as they seek the financial recompense that they deserve for injuries that were not their fault. In such cases, personal injury lawyers may not be able to prevent the accident from happening, but the financial recompense that they can win for their client is often a key to the victim being able to pay for medical expenses, ongoing therapy, and physical rehabilitation.
Preventing Cycling Accidents
There’s a good reason that all cyclists legally have to wear appropriate helmets when they ride. It is because 75% of all cyclists that are killed in a cycling accident have major head injuries! This is a damning statistic and it is incumbent upon all drivers on the road to do better in terms of raising their awareness about cyclists sharing the road. After all, cyclists are road users as well, and no road user has an exclusive right to the road!
So, how can the cyclists on our road make themselves safer? Consider the following:
- High visibility: When riding, it is always a good idea to wear light coloured clothing or a reflective vest or jacket. This is especially vital at dusk, during poor weather, or after dark when visibility on the roads is minimised. In fact, high visibility vests are becoming increasingly common nowadays and it is possible to find them in retail stores.
- Road rules: Of course, not all cycling accidents are caused by other drivers on the road. Some cyclists simply don’t follow the rules of the road and think that they can get away with creeping at red lights, not signalling their intentions to turn, or engaging in risky behaviour they would definitely not engage in if they were driving a car. All road users must follow the road rules regardless of their preferred vehicle!
- Lights: Just as it is important for cyclists to wear high visibility clothing, it is also important to ensure that their bicycle is fitted with lights and reflectors, both front, right, and back.
- Bike condition: Every responsible cyclists should check their bike before hitting the roads. The tires should be pumped, gears and brakes should work, and the chain should be oiled.
- Parked cars: Just as a precaution, every cyclist should try to ride at least a door’s width away from parked cars just in case the occupants suddenly decide to open the door.
Do Unto Others
Every road user, cyclists included, have the right to be safe and secure on our roads. No road user owns the road, and it is important for everyone to be aware, be sensible, and follow the rules of the roads.