Ahead of a two-hour special on cycle safety on BBC Radio 5 Live this evening, British Cycling says that more than one in three road traffic incidents involving its members - excluding those taking place in competition - take place at junctions or roundabouts and is calling on investment to be made at those locations to improve the safety of bike riders.
It adds that with less than 2 per cent of the incidents notified to it in the first six months of its current financial year involving road rage, there is scant evidence of a 'War on Britain's Roads,' the title of the controversial documentary aired by BBC One last week.
The organisation released its figures, taken from its database and covering 398 separate incidents during the period from 1 April to 30 September 2012 - ahead of its legal affairs director, Martin Gibbs, taking part alongside Chris Boardman in a BBC Radio 5 Live programme, 'Lifecycle,' airing tonight at 7.30pm. The two-hour programme, which is presented by James Cracknell, will also include a contribution from Sir Chris Hoy.
“The figures behind our members’ incidents paint a pretty clear picture," said Martin Gibbs. "In order to improve conditions for cyclists on the road, greater investment needs to go into junction design and infrastructure. We need the government to put cycling at the heart of its transport policy – with a commitment to turn this country into a cycling nation to rival great countries like Holland and Denmark.”
“All road users have a responsibility to look out for and respect each other. This isn’t about being anti-car – in fact, nine out of ten British Cycling members also drive. Any incident on the roads is one too many and we will continue to push decision makers to ensure cycling is given the priority it deserves.”
After the 36 per cent of incidents that took place at junctions or roundabouts, the next most common factor was a motorist making an incorrect or dangerous manouevre, such as pulling out without looking, which accounted for nearly 20 per cent of the total. That was followed by 16 per cemnt caused by the cyclist commiting an error or being negligent, and 12 per cent that were due to the poor state of the road or some obstruction encountered by the rider.
Chris Boardman said: “It’s important that we put these figures into perspective. Of British Cycling’s 63,000 members, only 398 – that’s much less than even 1% - have reported incidents to us in the past six months.
“The figures also show that it is clearly not a war out there. Only six of our 398 incidents involved road rage. We need to concentrate on what can be done to transform the culture of cycling in this country and think long term about how we want this country to look in ten years.”
The governing body has also issued tips for road users - motorists and cyclists alike - when they approach junctions or roundabouts.
* When driving, Think Cyclist! Always check for cyclists in your mirrors and blind spot when approaching side roads and roundabouts.
* When driving and attempting to change lanes, check mirrors and blind spots to make sure there are no cyclists also trying to change lanes or turn right.
* When cycling, try and ‘take the lane’ when passing a side road on your left. Don’t ride next to the curb. This enhances the visibility of cyclists when riding, especially for drivers approaching the junction from the side road who will generally be looking in the middle of the lane for other motor vehicles.
* When cycling and attempting to turn into a side road, try and glance behind when approaching a junction and make eye contact with closely following drivers. If turning left or right, edge out into the lane slowly to ensure clearer visibility.
* When cycling, make eye contact with drivers and other road users. Look well ahead and try to anticipate what the traffic in front is going to do and plan accordingly.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.