|Addison Lee Founder & Chairman - John Griffiths|
Last year, I came up with a road safety campaign idea called "Cycle5Afe" - The Times subsequently launched a scheme called "Cyclesafe" so I ditched it, having already acquired the URL and Twitter ID I might add!
The crux of the idea was about mutual appreciation of the road and was themed around the five "A's as follows, a bit like the "Think Bike" campaign for motorcyclists: -
- Aware (cars anticipate that a cyclists may need to manoeuvre unexpectedly, cyclists don't wear headphones so you can be aware of what's behind you).
- Alert (always have a spatial view of the road, cars need to understand what gap they need to leave, cyclists need to be aware that swerving unexpectedly may cause an accident behind them).
- Appreciation (of all road users).
- Assertiveness (cyclists own the road when you need to, drivers be assertive and do not pass until safe, even if you are being hassled).
- Always (cyclists wear a helmet, drivers stay safe when passing).
With rising fuel costs, a pressure to lower carbon footprints, rising healthcare costs amonst other things, more people are taking to the saddle and therefore the road needs to be a safe place for all those that choose to use it. Let's just take a look at the statistics around the reported cycling incidents: -
The Stats (Source: RoSPA).
- Around 17,000 cycling incidents are reported each year. Around 2,500 of these involve a serious injury.
- Around 75% of fatal or serious cyclist accidents occur in urban areas.
- Around half of cyclist fatalities occur on rural roads.
- 75% happen at, or near, a road junction.
- 80% occur in daylight.
- 80% of cyclist casualties are mal.
- Around three quarters of cyclists killed have major head injuries.
- In collisions involving a bicycle and another vehicle, the most common key contributory factor recorded by the police is 'failed to look properly' by either the driver or rider, especially at junctions. 'Failed to look properly' was attributed to the car driver in 57% of serious collisions and to the cyclist in 43% of serious collisions at junctions.
- Other common contributory factors attributed to drivers are 'poor turn/manoeuvre' (in 17% of serious accidents involving a cyclist) and 'careless, reckless, in a hurry (17%). Cyclists are more likely to suffer serious injuries when a driver is judged to be 'impaired by alcohol', exceeding the speed limit' or 'travelling too fast for the conditions'.
- The second most common contributory factor attributed to cyclists was 'cyclist entering the road from the pavement' (including when a cyclist crosses the road at a pedestrian crossing), which was recorded in about 20% serious collisions.
- The most common vehicle involved in collisions with cyclists is a car or taxi, with the rider usually being hit by the front of the vehicle. In a quarter of fatal cyclist accidents, the front of the vehicle hit the rear of the bicycle.
As John Griffiths of Addison Lee is quickly learning around 80% of all cyclists are also drivers (Source - Institute of Advanced Motorists) and quite a large number of them are also Addison Lee customers based upon the negative commentary on social media channels. It's a myth that cyclists and motorists are separate groups, in four out of five cases, they are one of the same.
The future has to be about mutual respect and co-existence for all road users, regardless of transportation type, a safe environment for all. Ranting comments just widen the divide, rather than narrow it and aren't helpful. Griffiths has talked today of his support for the Cyclesafe campaign from The Times, which does rather make you wonder whether there is some serious back-pedalling being done.
Power to the People
The most important point to remember in this whole affair is that cyclists are people. Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, Sisters, Sons, Daughters, Nephews, Aunties and Uncles to others. A moment of madness can lead to devastating effects, just ask Simon Richardson MBE about that, innocently mown down whilst training by a drunk driver. Being safe is about your actions behind the wheel or behind the handlebars towards another human being, simple as that. Stay safe, stay cycle5Afe. See you on the road.