Drivers and cyclists don’t have a great reputation when it comes to sharing the road considerately. However there’s no denying that cyclists are extremely vulnerable road users, and so you have a responsibility as a driver to do everything you can to help them stay safe.
[symple_box color=”blue” text_align=”left” width=”100%” float=”none”]Did you know:
Every year around 19,000 cyclists are injured or killed on the UK’s roads.¹[/symple_box]
It’s also worth considering that a large number of incidents involving cyclists will not be reported to the police – so in reality this number is likely to be even higher.
In fact a recent poll revealed that half of adults in the UK deem their local streets too dangerous to cycle on.²
What is the Government doing about it?
Cycling has been a hot topic recently, what with the Tour de France kicking off in Yorkshire this year. In light of this, the Department for Transport has announced that it has “doubled funding for cycling to £374m to help deliver safer junctions”.³
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “Cycling isn’t just great exercise, it has wider benefits for the environment and the economy, which is why we are committed to ensuring more people feel safe enough to use two wheels.”⁴
A notorious junction in Vauxhall has been the subject of much news coverage recently, when the Mayor of London’s cycling commissioner labelled it “genuinely dangerous”, after a cyclist was tragically killed there in June 2014. This was the sixth incident of this kind in London this year alone.⁵ TfL have announced this month that they plan to overhaul the Vauxhall gyratory system, with the creation of a segregated cycle track.⁶ No doubt this news will be a relief for the cyclists that face this dangerous junction on a daily basis.
What are the most dangerous spots for cyclists?⁷
1. Rural roads
Around half of cyclist fatalities take place on rural roads. This is likely to be due to narrow roads and blind bends, with motorists sometimes driving faster than is safe because the roads seem empty.
It’s no surprise that junctions are a common location of accidents – 74% of cycling accidents are at or near a junction.
3. Entering the road from the pavement
20% of serious cyclist collisions are reported to be due to the cyclist ‘entering the road from the pavement’, including crossing at a pedestrian crossing. This is the second most common contributory factor.
I’m a driver, what can I do to help?
Transport for London have created a video providing some safety tips for both drivers and cyclists:
Here is some more advice for safely sharing the road with cyclists:
Manoeuvres and junctions
1. Always check your mirrors for cyclists, and remember they might be in your blind spot. Especially look out for cyclists coming up on your left.
2. Watch out for cyclists when turning – make eye contact if possible so they know that you have seen them.⁸
3. Always use your indicators so cyclists can anticipate your next move.
4. Remember that cyclists might be travelling faster than you think – be careful judging their approaching speed if you’re about to turn.⁹
5. Make sure you give way to cyclists at roundabouts if they’re approaching from the right.
6. Always be sure to check for cyclists when you open your car door.¹⁰
7. Make sure you never park in a cycle lane.¹¹
8. Give cyclists plenty of space when overtaking, leaving as much room as you would give a car. If there isn’t sufficient space to pass, hold back.
9. Don’t overtake a cyclist if you can see that the road narrows ahead.¹³
At traffic lights ¹⁴
10. Advanced stop lines allow cyclists to get to the front of the queue of traffic. You must stop at the first white line if the lights are amber or red, and you should give cyclists enough time and space to move off when the green light shows. If you cross into the designated cyclist stopping area on a red light, you could be fined £100 and get three points on your licence.¹⁵
11. Make sure you follow any ‘stop’ or ‘give way’ signs as normal.
12. Don’t let anything distract you while you’re driving – such as your mobile phone, passengers, or listening to music – as you might fail to notice a cyclist approaching.
What to do if you’re in an accident involving a cyclist
We sincerely hope this never happens, but here’s what you should do if you’re in a car accident involving a cyclist:
If the cyclist or anyone else is injured, the first thing you’ll need to do is call 999 for an ambulance to attend. Depending on the nature of the accident it may also be necessary to call the police.
You must call your insurance company to let them know what’s happened as soon as you can after the accident, even if you’re not planning to make a claim. You may need to provide some details about any other parties involved so try and collect as much information as possible.
Find out more information about what to do if you have an accident.
Got an insurethebox policy? Our claims number is 0333 103 0030; the line is open 24/7, 365 days a year.
  http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/adviceandinformation/cycling/facts-figures.aspx
   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-28093374
    http://think.direct.gov.uk/cycling.html
   http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/safety/cyclists-and-drivers-sharing-the-road.html