Road Safety News

Roads 'too dangerous' for cyclists: BBC News

Tuesday 1st July 2014

poll conducted for BBC News on the eve of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart suggests that half of British adults believe their local roads are too dangerous for cyclists.

The Tour de France starts in Leeds on Saturday and will take in Harrogate, York, Sheffield, Cambridge and London.

However, in the BBC poll of 3,000 adults, 52% of respondents agreed that “it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads in my local area”, while 47% disagreed.

Only 34% agreed that the roads in their area “are well designed to be safe for cyclists”, with 64% disagreeing. And just 20% felt that the Tour de France starting in Britain had encouraged them to cycle more, with 78% disagreeing. 55% of respondents felt that employers don’t do enough to encourage cycling to work.

The poll showed older people were more likely than their younger counterparts to believe the roads were too dangerous: 61% of those aged 65 and over, compared to 45% of 18 to 24 year olds.

Talking to the BBC News website, Martin Lucas-Smith from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign said "things like narrow cycle lanes" and "badly maintained roads" led to cyclists feeling unsafe.

Mr Lucas-Smith added: "We'd like to see proper allocation of space on these roads which can almost always be achieved simply by a bit of redesign, so people can cycle safely and easily."

Chris Boardman, Olympic medallist and British Cycling policy adviser, said: "People don't feel safe when riding their bikes on our roads.

"In order to rectify this we need a clear commitment from Government and local authorities to prioritise the safety and needs of cyclists in all future transport schemes."

Click here to read the full BBC News report.



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Cycle lanes ought to be, but the specifications currently issued by DfT are considered as more of an ideal not a specification. So we get some god awful examples which generally are more dangerous than if something wasn't there. As for filtering, it's a question of speed and mass. When a bicycle passes a queue of traffic it is at a considerably lower speed than a Ford Mondeo, with a lower mass than said Mondeo, amongst stationary things that generally cannot even be scratched by the impact of a bicycle at it's low speed. Whereas when motor vehicles pass a bicycle with inches to spare the bicycle is moving and may wobble, the cyclist is very (in my case at least) squidgy and prone to things like maiming and death, the Ford Mondeo is travelling at frequently 30 mph + and has a mass around 2 tonnes. You cannot really compare the two.
Steve, Merseyside

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)

I agree that we need to get along. However it isn't about creating more space for roads, it is about reallocating the space already there. We have to include all road users, not just motor vehicles. Not just MAMIL type cyclists either, but everyone from Primary School to Nursing Home.
Steve, Merseyside

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

A motorcycle is significantly wider than a bicycle. Motor vehicles, especially cars, are significantly wider than they used to be 15, 20 and 30 years ago. Our roads have evolved over many decades and centuries but they have not and cannot become wider in the way that cars have done, particularly in so short a period of time. Ever larger goods vehicles deliver directly into town and village centres. There is simply less available space on many roads.

Could we possibly have less conflict and confrontation and more sharing the road please? We have just had two glorious days with Le Tour de France here in Yorkshire. Almost without exception we saw an outbreak of goodwill and friendliness between drivers, bikers, cyclists and pedestrians even though many roads here were the busiest they have ever been. Let’s keep that going.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

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I cannot help but wonder whether the almost half of drivers who consider our roads to be too dangerous for cycling are the same group of drivers who drive with little or no consideration for cyclists.
David, Suffolk

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Things like narrow cycle lanes. Aren't they manufactured to a specification? Just how much of the carriageway do cyclists want? I have seen videos and tv footage where cyclists complain of the proximity of other vehicles overtaking them, but in the same films I see riders putting themselves in much closer and more dangerous situations overtaking/filtering past slower traffic, HGVs, buses etc giving no quarter and missing these vehicles by inches.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (3) | Disagree (2)

I agree. What we must remember is that about 60 years of road transport development has been for the car and nothing to do with motorcycles and cyclists, which up to the end of the 50s actually was about 40% of road traffic. For years we have had engineers and authorities that designed and purposely built roads for only one sector of road traffic. Nothing wrong with that, social changes took place and people deserted bikes and motorcycles as their first form of transport in favour of the car.

However it is now becoming clear that design and construction of tomorrow's highways must take two wheeled vehicles into account. Motorcyclists have in the past born the brunt of these poor considerations and if one reads the Institute of Highway Engineers (new motorcycling guidelines website: one not only sees a number of examples of poor road engineering put right, but one sees what needs to be taken into account and put in place when consideration is given to two wheeled vehicles.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)

This is perhaps the most important survey ever undertaken and yet the researchers probably don't realise exactly what they have achieved!

The general agreement that “it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads in my local area” proves once and for all that there is a significant dichotomy in road safety policy. Let me explain. From the point of view of the cyclist and the promotors of cycling it is the road (by which they probably mean other users as well as infrastructure) that is considered to be the most dangerous element in the system. There is no indication that cyclists or cycling itself is dangerous, but that it is made dangerous by the surrounding environment. Now compare that to motorcycling and you can quickly see that the exact opposite prevails with motorcyclists and motorcycles considered to be the unsafe elements with the 'road' being the safe one.

Both points of view cannot be similtaneously correct, so one of them has got to be wrong. Is it the 'road' that is unsafe, or is it the user that is unsafe? If it's the road that's unsafe (as revealed by this survey) then Bad-Apple theory must be wrong, if it is the user that's unsafe then bad apple theory would be correct. Which is it to be?
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)