As with any road user, cyclists face a serious risk of injury when riding on our UK roads. However, riding with caution and maintaining awareness of surroundings will significantly reduce the chances of being involved in an accident.
A number of Cycle Accident Claims team members cycle in one form or another…and absolutely love it. The possibility of an accident should not deter riders from getting out on the saddle, especially when one considers all the fantastic benefits you’d be missing out on.
Still, one should always exercise precaution and be aware of the most common risks to cyclists on the road. Based on our own experience and knowledge, we have listed what we believe to be the top 5 threats.
So, what are the most common risks to cyclists?
A significant number of our claims come from an accident involving a T-junction. It might be from a motorist turning onto a main road without seeing the cyclists traveling along that main road, or the motorist might be turning off the main road and across oncoming traffic road without giving way.
If a claim was to be made against the motorist, the defence might argue the cyclist didn’t make themselves visible enough. But this is a very difficult argument to succeed with as The Highway Code is written with the assumption cyclists may be difficult to see and so motorists need to take more care.
Roundabouts can be touch-and-go for any road user, so it’s not surprising they are high-risk for cyclists. The more the exits, the higher the risk. It’s probably safest to avoid roundabouts where possible, but sometimes this isn’t realistic.
Similar to T-junctions, the circumstances usually stem from a motorist entering the roundabout without giving way to a passing cyclist, or the motorist exiting the roundabout without seeing the cyclist riding adjacent to the vehicle.
It is very common for people exiting their parked vehicle to forget to check behind them before opening their door, which can mean the cyclist has no choice but to ride straight into that door. For this reason, a good precaution to take to riding a little more central of the road, giving more distance between the bike and vehicle. In saying that, this is not always possible (and shouldn’t be necessary regardless).
Being such a common factor in cycling accidents, the ‘Dutch reach’ is being heavily promoted, whereby the person/s exiting the vehicle on the traffic side opens the car with the hand furthest from the door, forcing them to turn and face behind them before opening the door.
Potholes are a real issue for cyclists in the UK, especially on regional roads. Unlike cars, bikes are more likely to become unstable after hitting a ditch or pothole, and so it’s a good idea to take extra precaution.
Any claims from potholes would need to be directed towards the responsible highway authority, which is a difficult case to win unless inadequacies or inconsistencies can be identified in their maintenance records.
With so many people riding their bike to work, this is largely during peak hour and in built-up areas so the traffic can be slow or even at a standstill. At these times, cyclists filter between the lanes and traffic (which they’re well within their rights to do). It is at these times that motorists seem most complacent and seem to change lanes without properly checking their mirrors and blind spot.