How safe are cyclists in Britain? Safer than you might think

  • By Ben Griffin

The furore surrounding the safety of cycling in the UK reached boiling point recently when a young woman knocked a man off his bicycle, left the scene and tweeted about it. Despite this, it would appear travelling by bicycle is still relatively safe.

Nearly 2 million people cycle regularly in the UK, but a 'mere' 111 die every year.
Nearly 2 million people cycle regularly in the UK, but a 'mere' 111 die every year.

Of the 1.96 million people who cycle at least once a week, around 17,185 serious injuries and 111 deaths were reported in 2010, an infographic by Osbornes Solicitors claims. For reference, there were 203,950 vehicular casualties recorded in 2011, 1,901 of which resulted in a fatality.

The infographic goes on to say that, of the 17,185 cyclists involved in an accident, 2,660 were 'seriously injured' and 14,414 were 'slightly injured'. 80 per cent of these accidents occur in daylight and nearly 50 per cent on rural roads.

Unsurprisingly, three quarters of all fatal or serious accidents occurred in in urban areas, three-quarters of which took place at or near a junction.

“Our infographic and video show there are 17,000 cyclist deaths or injuries in reported road accidents every year. Most of these occur during the daytime and, shockingly, 20 per cent of those killed or injured are children," explained Stuart Kightley. "It seems strange then, that Britain holds one of the best cycle safety rankings for children in Europe."

“Despite the risks, the advantages of cycling must not be overlooked. In fact, the benefits gained from cycling actually far outweigh the dangers. For example, you can burn around 600 calories for every hour of cycling, which is great news for your health. It’s beneficial to the environment too, with over 1000km to be travelled on the energy equivalent of a single litre of petrol," he added.

17,000 cyclist deaths and injuries is hardly a small number but given how congested our roads are it could be a much bleaker picture.

It's worth tooling up before you cycle off. Osbornes Solicitors recommends you wear a helmet, sunglasses (unless cycling at night, of course), fit some proper lights that don't blind drivers, wear bright and/or reflective clothing drivers will see, reflectors and gloves to keep your mitts warm and protect your hands in case you do fall off.

Check out the infographic below.

Image: Flickr 

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