This recent United Kingdom study found that cycling/motorist accidents were actually not primarily caused by the cyclist’s poor judgment. There has been a 20% rise in cyclist/motorists incidents in recent years and some in the UK have tried to attribute this to the cyclists making poor choices, such as listening to headphones. This study seems to counter this argument.
It does mention that the rate of cyclist flouting the law as a contributing factor was slightly higher where the cyclist was killed. However, the cyclist was not around to give his/her side of the story, so it is to be expected that the survivor of the incident (the motorist) would blame the cyclist.
Police investigations into the incidents tended to balance fault between cyclist & motorist. However, this rate is unbalanced because of the inclusion of child-cyclists. When these are factored out and only adult cyclists are looked at, motorists are found to be solely to blame in 60–75% of the cases.
The conclusions drawn from this is that police, administrators and politicians, when attempting to legislate or enforce safety issues, need to look at drivers more than cyclists. Chris Peck, from the UK cyclist lobby group CTC, says:
We believe this report strongly supports our view that the biggest problem for cyclists is bad driving. With that in mind we are greatly concerned that the government still seems fascinated with analysing and promoting cycle helmets, the value of which appears to be inconclusive. We believe that the government should now focus on tackling the causes of injury which appears to be mainly inconsiderate and dangerous driving. Reduced speed limits, stronger traffic law enforcement and cycle-friendly road design are the solutions.
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