Cycling has long been one of our favorite pastimes. The fresh air, the freedom, the exhilaration of feeling you are doing something healthy and that you enjoy. So, as the number of us that take to our bikes and take to roads increases, unfortunately, so does the number of cycling related accidents. Road accidents today are well reported; we are all well aware of the risks of riding our bikes on the roads. But we still ride them.
Why Do We Like Riding Bikes?
People like riding bikes for a variety of reasons. Some ride in a conscious effort to reduce pollution, generated by using motor vehicles, for others it is part of their exercise regime – the healthy choice. Some people actually reduce their commute time by riding their bike to work, for some it is a cheaper option and for others it is because they love to ride. These days, more people than ever are choosing to ride their bikes on the roads. Unfortunately, however, more people are falling foul of the ever increasing statistics of bike accidents.
Are Road Accidents On The Increase?
In simple terms, more bikes on the road means more accidents. For instance, while UK roads are safer than ever for cars, motorbikes and heavy goods vehicles, there has been a sharp increase in the number of injuries and deaths of cyclists. In 2012 alone, the number of cyclists, who were seriously injured or killed rose by 18%. Serious casualties among other road users, however, decreased.
Why Is This Happening?
Statistics show that poor road quality, inadequate traffic management and human error are to blame for the increased risk to cyclists, when they take their bikes to the less than conducive roads. Cycle lanes have been introduced in some cities, but the definition of these varies. Some are defined by lines on the road. These can be overlooked by other road users and offer no real tangible protection to the cyclists using them. Other lanes are marked with a barrier. However, there have been incidences, where cyclists have been crushed against the very structure, placed there to protect them.
What Can I Do To Protect Myself?
Proficiency at your sport is a great start. Have you ridden recently, or will this foray on to the road be your first time on a bike for a while? Honing your cycling skills is important. There will always be room for improvement.
Equipment checks are vital. How healthy is your bike? Check your tires, handlebar and seat position, chain and spokes – are they all functioning safely? You cannot expect to enjoy a safe journey, if your steed itself is not safe. Other vital equipment is a helmet. This will absorb impact from a head injury and has been statistically proven to save lives.
Awareness is key. Make sure you are aware of the movements of other road users. Compromise your speed for this. These other road users are the most frequent cause of collisions with cyclists, so be aware!
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