It is important to remember that cycling is not an intrinsically dangerous activity - as Chris Boardman said on 7 September 2007 on BBC Breakfast “Over 4 billion is spent each year by the health service on obesity related illnesses and there are over 35,000 deaths. With cyclists, there are just over 100 deaths. It’s tragic – but that’s with UK cyclists travelling 35 million miles or 800 times around the world...It is an incredibly safe form of transport.”
So let's remember that whilst at the same time ensuring that employees know how to stay safe whilst cycling by reiterating the key cycle safety messages:
1. Be aware that there are blind spots all around large vehicles. It's safer to hang back
2. Pay attention to what's going on around you and what other road users might do
3. Make eye contact with drivers so you are sure they have seen you
4. Wear bright clothing in the day and reflective clothing or accessories at night
5. Use lights after dark - white at front and red at rear. You may be fined £30 if you don't have them
6. Use appropriate hand signals when making a left or right turn
7. Consider wearing a helmet
8. Ride away from the gutter. If the road is too narrow for vehicles to pass you safely, it may be safer to ride towards the middle of the lane to prevent dangerous overtaking by other vehicles
9. Ride in a straight line past parked cars rather than dodge between them and allow at least a full door's width between you in case a car door opens suddenly
10. Whilst the majority of cyclists obey traffic signals the tiny minority that don't give other road users a bad impression - so please don't ride through red traffic lights (also you may be fined £30).
The Times is running a Cities Fit for Cycling Campaign - see here.
It is also important to ensure that drivers, whether they are commuters, business travellers or drivers of your company vehicles understand the role they play in cycling safety. As John Parkin, in Cycling and Sustainability (2012) writes: Those bringing most danger to the road are those who drive vehicles with more mass, and who drive at higher speed. Walkers and cycle users therefore bring the least danger to highways, yet, strangely, seem often to be blamed for being 'dangerous'.
It’s the environment that will make it safer. The government need to get more people riding bikes. 300 miles away in Denmark people are riding bikes in their suits on their way to work, for leisure, and everyone is happy. We need to change the philosophy around road design.
A segregated route - ideal for cycling
businesscycle supports The Times award-winning 'Cities fit for cycling' campaign.
The health benefits of cycling, such as improved quality of life, weight control and protecting against major chronic diseases greatly outweight the risks by a factor of 20 to 1.
BMA Healthy Transport = Healthy Lives