Worrying figures about the number of cyclists seriously injured on roads in North Lincolnshire have been revealed by Humberside Police. Some 21 cyclists have been seriously hurt between January last year and last month, while a total of 58 other riders were slightly injured.
The news comes after a controversial proposal to make motorists legally responsible for all accidents involving cyclists, regardless of whether they are at fault.
PC Barry Gardner, Humberside Police's casualty reduction officer for North Lincolnshire, said officers thoroughly investigate every collision to determine who is at fault.
He told the Scunthorpe Telegraph: "Any collision is a cause for concern and each one is dealt with individually by the officer in the case. If there is a case for prosecution against either the cyclist or the other party, that would be considered."
Cycling England, which advises the Department for Transport DfT), wants the civil law changed so it would place the presumption of blame against whoever was driving the most powerful vehicle involved in an accident.
Phillip Darnton, chief executive of Cycling England, an agency funded by the DfT to promote cycling, said: “I would like to see the legal onus placed on motorists when there are accidents; speed limits reduced to 20mph on suburban and residential roads; cycling taught to all schoolchildren; and cycling provision included in major planning applications.”
PC Gardner urged all motorists to pay special attention to cyclists, particularly at junctions and when overtaking. His advice was to pull out and give the cyclist plenty of room while approaching them, then check the near-side mirror to ensure the car was well clear of the cyclist before pulling back in.
He also revealed some cyclists were to blame for a number of avoidable collisions in North Lincolnshire in the past year, saying: "Some cyclists have failed to comply with road traffic legislation or have put themselves at risk.
Last week accident and emergency doctors demanded that the government make it illegal for under-16s to cycle without a helmet to help reduce the number of children who suffer serious brain injuries.
But PC Gardner said: "The number of collisions involving children under 16 is relatively low – accounting for five out of 26 so far this year."
The DfT last week also authorised a trial in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in West London allowing cyclists to ride the wrong way along one-way streets and if successful the department intends to extend the policy to the rest of Britain and permit thousands of one-way streets to become two-way for bikes.