Summer, and Yorkshire hosting the Tour De France, are fast approaching so it’s time to service your bicycle, check or replace your helmet and prepare for some fun.
It doesn’t matter if you’re entering the Tour de France with your carbon-fibre, 30 speed bike or just popping down the shops to fill the front basket on your grandmother’s old Speedwell.
Cycling keeps you fit, it’s cheap, and doesn’t harm the environment — but it can be dangerous. There were 19,091 bicycle accidents reported in 2012 with 118 of them being fatal – 13 of those killed were children.
Some 80% of accidents involve adult riders but the most dangerous age of all is 10-15 year olds. This is possibly because they are more likely to be riding bikes than any other age group.
It’s interesting that those over 60 years old are the next highest accident-prone group, while female cyclists make up only 20% of bike injuries and males 80%.
Most cycling accidents happen during daylight hours when bikes are used most. The worst times for cycling accidents are between 8:00am-9:00 am and 3:00pm-6:00pm during the week.
While most accidents happen during the day, accidents at night are more deadly. The advice from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is to wear reflective clothing at night, make sure your lights are all working and always, day or night, wear a helmet.
More accidents happen in the warmer months because there are more bikes on the road during spring and summer. A recent study showed that, if you compare the number of hours ridden, the accident rate is actually higher in autumn and winter.
Cyclists should take extra care at junctions. About three quarters of all serious and fatal cycling injuries happen at or near road junctions. T-junctions are the most dangerous but roundabouts are the next most likely accident spot.
Risks to cyclists increase where speed limits are higher. This means that, while most accidents are in urban areas, 50% of serious injuries and death happen on country roads. The main cause of cycling accidents is inattention followed by failure to wear a helmet.
Cyclists have the most to lose, so they have to be alert at all times. Motorists don’t always see cyclists and often cross in front of them or will drive into traffic without noticing them, until it’s too late. Drivers must be especially careful driving near children on bikes. Children take risks, don’t pay attention and can ride too fast.
A study of cyclist deaths in London found that 70% were due to head injury. In a country area the number rose to 80% of deaths. Wearing a helmet may have saved some of these lives.
How to react in the event of an accident
Get off the road and go somewhere safe
If possible, take photographs and collect the names and contact details of any witnesses
Never admit liability
If you find yourself in hospital keep copies of all medical and police reports
Can you make a claim?
Finding out if you could make a claim is simple. Call us direct on 01924 457171 to discuss your claim with one of our dedicated team.