5 Changes To Cycling Safety

A recent BBC article looks at 5 issues surrounding cycle safety and what may better their safety. At the top was helmets, and whether they should be compulsory. In Australia, New Zealand and parts of the US helmets are compulsory, so should we follow suit? It is recommended in the Highway Code, but this article seems to question their worth, with evidence that they can be flimsy. It also questions what the penalty would be for those not wearing a helmet, similar to last week’s blog post.

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Next on the list was whether high-vis gear should be used in the daytime. The article spoke about a study conducted by a researcher at Brunel University, which concluded with “To stand out, what matters most is the contrast with your background, says Geffen. And since your background constantly changes, there’s no “best” colour to wear.” However, is this a similar case to above in that surely any protection is better than none at all?

A headphone ban? According to a BBC poll, nearly 90% of people would like to see a ban on cyclists being able to wear headphones. Now this is definitely not a matter of them improving your safety, but a case of how much does it negatively affect your safety? Here at PBA we think that listening to traffic is just as important as seeing it, so we would agree with the BBC poll.

Middle lane hoggers? We are all aware of the middle lane hoggers on the motorway, but what is the opinion on cyclists riding in the middle lane? It is suggested that positioning is the biggest influence to a cyclist’s safety, and the article seems to suggest the minimum distance is half a metre from the kerb. It is also claimed the need to dominate the middle of the lane if it is unsafe for a car to pass you as to deter them from attempting the manoeuvre.

The last question asked in the article is about lights, steady or flashing? Since 2005 it is now illegal to cycle on the road after dark without lights. But the argument of steady or flashing seems more complex. In a built up, urban areas flashing lights will attract more attention and therefore could be safer, whilst in rural areas a steady light may be necessary for your own visibility.

However this BBC article concludes with the idea that all the above can only help so much, and what need to change if the attitudes among drivers. We would love to hear your opinions on all the above mentioned. How far do you think cycling has come along? Do you feel safe cycling on roads? Get in touch!

JL

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