An understanding of how bicycle accidents or a cycling accident occurs can help us to avoid them.
Most people tend to think that bicycle riding is dangerous although the facts point in the opposite direction. Cyclists travel more miles than any other travelers on an average per accident, and they spend more hours on a bicycle compared to other travellers per accident. The fragile look of the bicycle, compare not to most other modes of transport, giving the idea of being dangerous, while its manoeuvrability tends to prevent most accidents.
Despite the facts pointing to a bicycle being safe, it is important to take certain precautions in making it safer. Although the rate of accidents is lesser, most bicycle accidents are either harmless or just the opposite. Riding habits vary widely and it has been observed that the rate of accidents vary widely between different groups of riders. Children are known to have about 725 accidents per million hours of riding whereas a group of UK cyclists averaged just 66 accidents per million hours. Since, cycling is an art mastered differently by everyone, skill becomes a major factor and it has been observed that many people tend to fall off a bicycle frequently while others seem to be riding eternally.
Most cyclists tend to think that they are plain lucky or unlucky, which is not the case. It is important for a cyclist to work towards safer riding practices than to blame it on luck alone. It has been seen that many cyclists get involved in accidents owing to being careful. They tend to follow wrong procedures. Cyclists riding on the wrong side of the road or riding on the edge of the pavement are actually trying to be careful in preventing accidents failing to realize that they are more prone to being hit by larger vehicles.
BBC Radio 4 collected some interesting opinions where cyclists say they have good reason to ride in the road, as bike lanes are often badly designed, even dangerous.
In Battersea there is a cycle path on the pavement which has a beautiful tree in the middle of it.
A cycle facility near me has five gates to negotiate in half a mile (involving slowing down, stopping, opening the gate, going through, shutting the gate, back on the bike etc)... or I could use the road.
Our cycle lanes offer poorer visibility than the road, run dangerously near lamp posts and road signs, and are not respected by pedestrians.
In 2003 I rode from John O'Groats to Lands End and attempted to use cycle lanes where possible. On too many occasions I found myself in situations which were potentially more dangerous than staying on the road, where cyclists have a legal right.
Careful analysis of most bicycle accidents proves that cyclists are safer when they treat riding their bicycle as driving a car or any other vehicle. A motor vehicle drivers scans for other traffic on the road but does not really look at bicycles, neither does he expect a bicycle to come rushing at him from the sides or from the opposite side of the traffic.
Despite the law giving the bicycles, the recognition of being a full fledged vehicle and the riders, the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle operator, the police do not enforce them, since they think that a cyclist is most prone to injury.
Finally, do not on edges of the street, and fight for your rights when you think that the accident was not your fault. Be careful and ride your bicycle as though you were driving your car, you will be safer that way.
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