Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Risky Cycling Doesn't Increase Risks

Or so hints a headline in yesterday's Guardian.

The headline goes like this: "Risky cycling rarely to blame for bike accidents, study finds." And the subhead: "Cyclists disobeying stop signal or wearing dark clothing at night [including lack of lights - ed.] rarely cited in collisions causing serious injury."

The supporting text seems to back this up, with the results from the UK Department for Transport study only finding such actions a liability in roughly 2% of the accidents they studied.

But all is not sweetness and light. Some 25% of cycling deaths were attributed to being rear-ended by a vehicle (again, not due to lack of lighting or reflectors or any of that...). Worse, the driver was found to be at fault nearly 75% of the time.

This is scary, because it implies there is little you can do to prevent yourself from being a statistic. This seems to almost contradict most of the other material I have read.

Perhaps cyclist awareness is partially to blame, but this is not suggested in any of the data. The CTC (a cyclist lobbying group) went on to make this claim:
We believe this report strongly supports our view that the biggest problem for cyclists is bad driving.
Interesting. And it runs counter to the current "wisdom" among bicycle safety specialists.


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