Posted 20 November 2018 by Carol Hopwood
This year Road Safety Week puts the spotlight on being BIKE SMART. Statistics show that cyclists and motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users in the UK. As Head of Serious and Catastrophic Injury at Carpenters Group, we see every day the devastating consequences of road traffic collisions involving vulnerable road users, most of which could so easily have been avoided.
As a driver, I often felt frustrated when stuck behind a line of cyclists on a country lane or even worse trying to get past a pair cycling side by side. However, having signed up to do a 100km charity bike ride I had to get back on my bike and start putting some miles in. I very quickly appreciated exactly why cyclists are so vulnerable on our roads and I have to say it was only having started cycling that I have appreciated just how dangerous it can be and it has certainly made me more Bike aware.
As a cyclist I found that many drivers either didn’t stop behind the Give Way line so I had to pull into the middle of the road, pulled out of junctions in front of me or oddly would start to pull out, stop and then carry on again as they tried to judge my speed, would overtake dangerously close and often far too fast. I have also witnessed similar situations involving horse riders where horses are often spooked because we don’t slow down enough or pass widely enough.
As a brain injury lawyer, I see a disproportionate number of cyclists and motorcyclists suffering serious injury. They are particularly vulnerable as they lack the protection of the structure of a vehicle and the airbags and other safety features that are now common in today’s modern vehicles.
At Carpenters Group, we join with Brake in calling for a safe systems approach, mandating lifesaving technology and prioritising cycle a friendly infrastructure. For those of us who drive a commitment to be Bike Smart and show greater consideration and patience to our fellow two-wheeled riders. No one wants to receive that knock on the door.