Thursday, 24 May 2012


Blind corner

If you are riding under the premise that riding on shared paths and footpaths is safer than on road, in traffic or in a dedicated, on road cycle lane, than it may well be a false premise.

There is a very in depth study into factors associated with Bicycle Crashes and Injury Severity carried out in the ACT (Australia) for the Cycling Resource Centre, which I believe is in the best interests of all cyclists to read. (This report can be viewed or downloaded at pedal study factors associated... or simply google, Cycling Resource Centre Australia.)

Just to give an example or two, you may be surprised to learn:

"Those riding on shared paths had a higher proportion of falls (56.2%) most of which were due to running out of control (58.2%) without the involvement of either other road users or objects. However, 16.4% of crashes on shared paths involved pedestrians and almost a quarter involved other cyclists (23.3%)"

"A higher proportion of older cyclists compared to young cyclists crashed on shared bicycle paths (36.5% versus 10.1%)"

"Cyclists who crashed on shared paths sustained higher average injury severity scores than those injured in any other road environment."

Dedicated on road cycle lane

Extremely dangerous

The post situated in the centre of a shared path is extremely dangerous when riding in a group for the reason that the post is obscured from view from the cyclist following the leader. The leader can manouvre quickly past the post but unfortunately there is little time for the next rider to take evasive action. The onus is on the leader to alert the following riders of the imminent danger. I have personally witnessed 2 serious accidents occurring in this situation.

Caution required, low visibility--Why has rider stopped prior to blind corner?
"Only a small proportion of the transport-related crashes occurred in dedicated bicycle lanes (less than 1 in 12) with the majority occurring in-traffic and on shared paths."

"Out of 122 single vehicle crashes involving cyclists,
55 occurred on a shared path and 29 occurred on a footpath as opposed to 32 occurring in traffic and 6 in a cycle lane."

This is but a small sample of what you can read in the report.

In another article, it was interesting to note that Spain which has the least number of cyclists had a greater number of fatalities than did Denmark which has the greatest number of cyclists but the least number of fatalities, (105 v 12).

I'm not highlighting this information for the purpose of frightening or stopping you from cycling, on the contrary, my whole goal is to get more bums on bicycle saddles and have you enjoying the benefits of cycling, but with safety. I have witnessed on too many occasions, cyclists on shared paths who appear to be completely unaware of other users, particularly when riding in groups.

Cycling is one of the most pleasant, beneficial past-times and if done safely, should add years of healthy living to your lifespan.

On a lighter note:

What is the hardest part of learning to ride a bike?

Answer: The pavement.

Please take the time to read the Bicycle Crashes and injury severity report as it may assist you to avoid some painful downtime.

Jimmy Bee

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