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UK failing to protect its cyclists, report claims

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: November 25, 2013

A report claims the UK is not doing enough to protect cyclists.

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Britain is lagging behind other nations when it comes to keeping cyclists safe and most people believe lorries should be banned from city centres during rush hour.

Although the death rate has fallen over the past decade, the number of cyclists seriously injured is going up if you take into account the number of miles travelled, says a major report.

But a separate survey shows most people believe cyclists are to blame and want riders banned from wearing headphones, forced to wear helmets and punished if they cause an accident.

The Sunday Times survey showed opposition to new laws making drivers bear the brunt of responsibility for accidents, but two thirds agreed lorries should be kept off the road during rush hour.

Researchers found that despite recent tragedies, UK death rates have gone down 17 per cent over the past ten years. But the cycling lobby say this is poor when compared to, for example, Finland which reduced cycling deaths by 64 per cent. Last year 125 cyclists died on UK roads, compared to 119 for the previous two years. Cycle campaigners also point out that the number of car passengers and pedestrians to die on UK roads has fallen far faster than cycle deaths – 49 and 47 per cent respectively.

They blame cuts in policing and “derisory” sentences for motorists for the casualty figures.

“It’s not a simple matter of just copying Dutch infrastructure and expecting it to work as it would in Holland,” said Roger Geffen of the Cyclists’ Touring Group. “There motorists will stop at a junction and let cyclists go first even if they’ve got a green light.”

But the YouGov poll for The Sunday Times showed 36 per cent of people said bad cycling was to blame, compared to 22 per cent bad driving. There is overall support for more cycling lanes and staggered starts at traffic lights.

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  • Aardvark Conservation  |  December 17 2013, 8:30AM

    I strongly feel that regular testing of the Highway code for all, but more importantly, having cyclists who MUST read the highway code and take a cycling proficiency course would be the first and most important step. Cyclists cutting-in on the nearside is simply stupid and just asking for an incident, moronic cyclists need a tough lesson by the now crippled stump of the law, as many 'cyclists' (more correctly 'someone who has bought/stolen a bike') seem to brazenly ride on the pavement or road or verge - whichever impedes their forward movement less. Both of these are illegal and punishable. Many motorists seem to have forgotten the use of mirrors and that plastic stalk next to the steering wheel, which is there to tell OTHER road users and pedestrians of an intention, rather than 'I was here first' or 'I pay road tax'. Money mis-spent putting cotton wool down for all and sundry is simply allowing the cotton wool into the cavities between the ears of morons. Read the Highway Code, people. Obey the law. It's by far the cheapest option.