No war on Britain's roads says British Cycling incident data but much needs to be done to win the peace

Figures released ahead of BBC Radio 5Live Lifecycle investigation on what can be done to make Britain's roads better for cycling

by Tony Farrelly   December 13, 2012  

British Cycling Logo

Figures released today by British Cycling show that one in three of incidents involving its members involves driver error at junctions or roundabouts while the second biggest cause, almost 20 per cent, were caused by drivers making an incorrect or dangerous manoeuvre on the road.

The figures were compiled by British Cycling from its database of 63,000 members and covers incident reports from its members during the first six months of the current financial year. All the reported incidents included in the statistics, 398 in total, involve cyclists going about every day non-competitive cycling on Britain's roads.

Commenting on the figures British Cycling’s policy and legal affairs director, Martin Gibbs said:

“The figures behind our members’ incidents paint a pretty clear picture. 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.”  

Both Gibbs and Chris Boardman will tonight take part in a Radio 5Live special - LifeCycle starting at 7.30pm, hosted by former Olympic rower, James Cracknell and also featuring contraptions from Kaya Burgess of The Times CycleSafe Campaign and Sir Chris Hoy. The programme will discuss how conditions on Britain's roads can be improved for cyclists.

However British Cycling was also keen not to over-state the dangers of cycling on the road and commenting on their findings 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.”

British Cycling's finding are consistent with other studies and the Department for Transport's analysis of its casualty statistics which suggest that junctions roundabouts and rural roads are locations particularly associated with serious incidents involve cyclists and drivers.

The report also found that 16 per cent of incidents were caused by cyclist error or negligence and 12 per cent were caused by spillages, defective sections of carriageway.

Road rage was a factor in only six incidents (1.5 per cent) of the total incidents reported despite the common perception most recently reinforced by the BBC's War on Britain's Roads Documenatary - described as an "opportunity missed" by British Cycling and a number of other organisations.

6 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

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.

Loth though I am to disagree with Saint Chris of Boardman, British Cycling's members are racing cyclists who are - one would hope - more skilled at 'taking the lane' and riding defensively than the average newbie. I'm not sure this stat tells us much at all, other than that BC should leave everyday cycling to CTC, Sustrans and local campaigns.

Doctor Fegg's picture

posted by Doctor Fegg [141 posts]
13th December 2012 - 19:56

4 Likes

Actually I'm not sure that's true Dr F. My guess is that the number of out and out racing cyclists as a proportion of the whole is probably surprisingly small. As with the CTC lots of people are members of BC for the insurance and other membership benefits and BC have had various initiatives to boost their numbers over the years including everydaycycling.com which was very much aimed at commuter and leisure cyclists.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4160 posts]
13th December 2012 - 21:02

5 Likes

"... also featuring contraptions from Kaya Burgess of The Times CycleSafe Campaign... "

intriguing.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [908 posts]
13th December 2012 - 21:27

5 Likes

As a BC member, competitive racer and long term cycling commuter, I'm certainly more experienced on two wheels than the average newbie. Yes I know how to claim my lane, learned that one a long time ago.

I wasn't one of those surveyed.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
13th December 2012 - 21:42

8 Likes

Anyone who has witnessed a 4th cat road race will confirm that levels of spatial awareness amongst these BC members is dire. Wink

posted by DNAse [22 posts]
14th December 2012 - 8:49

6 Likes

tony_farrelly wrote:
Actually I'm not sure that's true Dr F. My guess is that the number of out and out racing cyclists as a proportion of the whole is probably surprisingly small. As with the CTC lots of people are members of BC for the insurance and other membership benefits and BC have had various initiatives to boost their numbers over the years including everydaycycling.com which was very much aimed at commuter and leisure cyclists.

Im with you on this Tony as Im a BC member on their Ride category membership which is just right for me as a commuter.

nige

formereve's picture

posted by formereve [65 posts]
15th December 2012 - 1:11

4 Likes