Sunday 17 April 2011

Cyclists and exposure to risk

The cyclists most at risk of a collision are arguably those who are most exposed to risk. This might mean cyclists who take foolish risks. Gareth, for example, notes that I witness on a near daily basis cyclists filtering in the blue cycle lane in an unsafe position. But careful, experienced non-risk taking cyclists also get knocked down, and those who are most at risk seem to be those who do a lot of cycling, especially on ‘A’ roads outside urban areas.

Two examples spring to mind. Firstly there are people on charity cycle rides. They may be relative novices when it comes to cycling but when they end up being knocked down it is not necessarily as a consequence of anything they’ve done. It is simply that very few people cycle on non-urban ‘A’ roads any more. Those who do are often club cyclists, time trial cyclists, or dogged CTC ‘right to ride’ cyclists. Their willingness to ride on fast roads where few other cyclists venture exposes them to danger from drivers who aren’t expecting to meet a cyclist.

Like last Wednesday morning, when two cyclists were killed by drivers who were subsequently arrested by police.

In the first case a driver seems to have driven into a group of five cyclists on a charity bike ride in Wales:

A motorist has been arrested following the death of a cyclist in a road crash on the A55 on Anglesey. The rider, aged in his late 20s and not from north Wales, was with a group of five cyclists who were thought to be on a sponsored bike ride.

The incident, involving a silver Vauxhall Corsa car, happened between Gwalchmai and Llangefni at 1017 BST on Wednesday.

There’s more information about the victim here. Interestingly, two vehicles crashed on the same road the day before.

On that same morning a man was arrested following the death of a cyclist after a collision involving a van in Northumberland:

Police say the 43-year-old woman, who died in hospital, was from Jesmond in Newcastle.

She was cycling along the A189 Spine Road, near Cramlington, when the crash happened on Wednesday morning.

A 22-year-old man has been arrested and bailed on suspicion of causing death by careless driving.

It emerges that the victim

was an avid cyclist whose love of bikes took her all over the world, but she was killed on her commute to work when she was involved in an early morning collision with a van on the A189 Spine Road, near Cramlington, on Wednesday.

“Amongst the many activities she enjoyed she was a keen long-distance cyclist having cycled in the Pyrenees, Caribbean and Western Isles.

“She enjoyed water sports like canoeing, diving and sailing and winter sports and she had just returned from a trip to the Dolomites. She was also an avid reader, badminton player and talented needlewoman.”

Under this story the first comment reads:

I do the A19/Spine Road commute most days and the traffic doesn"t often travel under 80. There needs to be a proper cycle path built, there have been more than enough deaths on these roads and its a popular route.