Uk Needs To Become More Cycle-Friendly, Personal Injury Solicitors Warn
27th November 2013
Cycling is rapidly increasing in popularity in the UK and in London in particular. However, the UK’s road network is lagging behind, and although London Mayor Boris Johnson has launched the first fully-segregated Cycle SuperHighway in the capital, the vast majority of London’s roads and the roads throughout the rest of the UK were designed for cars and do not cater particularly well for cyclists.
This has led to an increase in the number of cycle accident claims and other personal injury claims involving cyclists, and has caused a shocking number of deaths. In the nine days preceding November 14th, six cyclists died on London’s roads, while another two suffered serious injuries.
Our personal injury solicitors are therefore calling for local authorities and the government itself to urgently address the risks faced by cyclists on the UK’s roads and to improve standards of safety. Cyclist safety should be a key political concern, and legislative changes may be needed to deal with this issue.
Dealing With The Common Causes Of Cycling Accidents And Injuries
Of the six cyclists deaths on London’s roads in recent days, three have involved buses and the other three involved lorries. Across the UK, around 20% of all cycling injury claims involve HGVs, but in London this figure rises to around 50%. These figures support wider concerns about the safety of cyclists when riding alongside HGVS and whether all HGVs are safe to drive on city streets popular with cyclists. Mr Johnson has already pledged to look into restricting the movements of HGVs in London during certain hours, but no rules have been brought in as of yet. Dublin and Paris have already implemented similar rules on their streets.
British Cycling, a campaign group, has also called for the government to consider changing the law so that HGV drivers have a better line of sight, saying that all vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes should have mirrors fitted to enable drivers to see cyclists, with vehicles considered unroadworthy until they have been altered accordingly.
Local authorities and the government need to legitimise cycling and make sure it is seen as a viable mode of transport. A number of transport authorities are already making efforts to do so, including Transport for London and Transport for Greater Manchester, but it is unclear how effective these efforts have been.
Cyclist deaths are still relatively uncommon, but cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users, alongside motorcyclists and horse-riders. In 2012, 118 cyclists lost their lives in road accidents in the UK – a 10% jump on 2011’s figure of 107 – with 92% of these accidents involving collisions with other vehicles. This is despite the fact that the number of cyclists in the UK only increased by 1.2% over this timeframe, showing that while the UK’s roads become safer for other road users, they appear to be becoming gradually more dangerous for cyclists. Action must be taken now to prevent other tragic cycle accident claims from occurring in the future.