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Women were also found to be more likely to be involved in crashes than men

A recent study carried out at the University of Westminster has found that slower cyclists are more likely to be involved in collisions.

The Times reports that cyclists travelling at 8mph or below are three times more likely to be involved in road traffic incidents and near-misses than those riding at 12mph or above.

Researchers suggested that faster cyclists may be treated with more respect by drivers and subjected to fewer overtaking manoeuvres.

Dr Rachel Aldred, senior lecturer in transport at Westminster University, said it was important to pay particular attention to the experiences of those who cycled more slowly.

"If people need to maintain a speed of 12mph or more to avoid high levels of scary incidents, we will find it very difficult to break out of the current situation where UK cycling is dominated by men and younger adults.”

A three-year study is currently underway at Oxford Brookes University investigating how people can be encouraged to cycle into older age, helping them retain their health, fitness and independence.

While cycling accounts for 23 per cent of all journeys for people aged 65 and older in the Netherlands, 15 per cent in Denmark and 9 per cent in Germany, it represents only one per cent of such journeys in the UK.

The University of Westminster study also found that women were more likely to be involved in crashes than men, with lower average cycling speeds perhaps influencing this to some degree.

In contrast, a study published in the British Medical Journal in November found that female cyclists in Canada have lower hospitalisation rates than men. The Canadian researchers concluded that this was perhaps because women tended to favour safer routes, including roads where there was better cycling infrastructure.

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