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Safety in numbers, says Cyclists Touring Club
7.05.09 by Buffalo Bill

I am a member of the CTC. And this morning, I downloaded a leaflet called ‘Safety in numbers’, which puts the case that more cyclists = less collisions per mile cycled. The evidence:

London has seen a 91% increase in cycling since 2000 and a 33% fall in cycle casualties since 1994-98. This means that cycling in the capital is 2.9 times safer than it was previously. The Netherlands has witnessed a 45% increase in cycling from 1980-2005 and a 58% decrease in cyclist fatalities.

There’s also this graph, and some more details in the press release. In a longer Guardian article on the item, Hans Voerknecht from Holland’s Fiets Beraad, or bicycle council, also points out that only a tiny minority of Dutch cyclists wear helmets.

Looking at the graph, it’s worth noting that France, home of the Tour, the Etape and numerous other big cycle sport events, has the same miles/person cycled, and a higher collision rate than the UK. This might be because there are the same number of cars in the UK, but 5 times the length of roads, which might mean that average vehicle speeds are higher, which would naturally lead to greater collision rates. But that’s speculation.

So anyway, next time you are cursing all the commuters on the Clerkenwell Road, you might want to thank them for making the roads safer instead.

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  1. It could be that most drivers in france are worse than everyone in the UK outside the M25 ring. Their priorite-a-droite rule could also have effects, as it means that you never have the right of way over vehicles pulling into you from the right hand side.

    Bristol Traffic    7 May 2009, 08:09    #
  2. that rule is fucking stupid.

    is it true that all french cars must be less than 8 years old?

    — lee    7 May 2009, 09:28    #
  3. The ‘French Paradox’ means that even their older cars have a lower incidence of breaking down, despite smoking exhaust pipes, and being filled with saturated fuels.

    It’s been suggested that drink driving could be responsible.

    — BringMeMyFix    7 May 2009, 10:47    #
  4. I does kind of figure I suppose. When riding slap bang in the middle of the commuting hours there are often comes times when upward of 30 cyclists rididng are in a group. Naturally they all have to spread out across the road and often across the lanes if it’s a dual carriageway. Motorists always seem a lot more reluctant to try and overtake these groups and usually stay at a sensible distance back whilst the cycle group is in front of them. Anyone about to pull out of a junction is also way more likely to spot a hench crew of cyclists compared to a 1 lonesome rider and this obviously must cut down on avoidable accidents.

    — Festerban    7 May 2009, 12:26    #
  5. lol @ ‘hench crew’

    — lee    7 May 2009, 15:27    #
  6. test
    (my comments seem to keep disappearing..?)

    — Michiel    10 May 2009, 11:06    #
  7. agree… priorite-a-droite is just stupid, and dangerous (mind you, if the car stops fro some reason, they loose the priority, so i usually just go anyway, and make them stop… hopefully)

    jo (j001)    10 May 2009, 11:38    #
  8. In cities and countries where the number of bicyclists is low, car traffic isn’t used to paying attention to them. Increase the numbers and they will get noticed, reducing the number of accidents.

    In the Netherlands, where there have always been loads of bicyclists, the same reasoning falls flat, I think.

    The Netherlands has a great system of bicycle lanes. Many are separated from car traffic by a row of parked cars or trees. When that’s not the case, they are still clearly marked with white lines, and almost always painted a different color (pinkish red).

    More and more roads are being reworked to have these separated bike lanes, making biking even more safe. This might well be the reason accident numbers are falling, instead of the rising number of bicyclists.

    — Michiel    12 May 2009, 21:31    #
  9. Here’s a Google Street View to illustrate:


    — Michiel    19 May 2009, 11:11    #
  10. As the Summer Cyclists hit the streets – or huffers and puffers as I fondly think of them – it’s the realisation that they seriously do improve life for all on bikes that keeps me smiling.

    How some make it through the day does keep me wondering. Case in point, yesterday I was in the city close to the front of traffic at lights and I’d chosen to stop behind a lorry. A girl politely said “excuse me” because she thought I was in her way, slowing her down, so I moved aside saying “I really wouldn’t” as she decided she really did need to go between the lorry and the bendy bus. On a curve. And the lights changed. And she wished she hadn’t. No harm done, just.

    Ham    29 May 2009, 08:43    #
  11. the wuestion is can you get it back from the police? do they make you pay to get it back?

    — J Keeney    12 June 2009, 19:35    #
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