posted 4 years ago

New Year cyclist death toll

Three killed on first day of 2015

Just days into the New Year, three cyclists have already been killed on UK roads.  On New Year’s Day a man was killed while riding his bike along a dual carriageway near Liphook in Hampshire. The incident is one of three in the past week in which cyclists have died. 

Also on New Year's Day a 23-year-old man died after he was in collision with a Ford Focus car in St Leonards, East Sussex, and a 79-year-old cyclist from Fairwarp, East Sussex, died after he was in collision with a Renault Megane.

Around 19,000 cyclists are hurt in road accidents in this country every year, with around 3,000 of them killed or seriously injured.

Failed to look properly

In collisions involving a bicycle and another vehicle, the most common key contributory factor recorded by the police is 'failed to look properly' by either the driver or rider, especially at junctions. 'Failed to look properly' was attributed to the car driver in 57% of serious collisions and to the cyclist in 43% of serious collisions at junctions. 

The most common vehicle involved in collisions with cyclists is a car or taxi, with the rider usually being hit by the front of the vehicle. In a quarter of fatal cyclist accidents, the front of the vehicle hit the rear of the bicycle.

Figures from all 45 police forces in the UK show that more than a quarter of those found guilty over cyclist deaths did not receive driving bans. Of those found guilty, 44% went to prison. The average jail sentence was less than two years, while the average length of driving ban was 22 months.  For 26% of drivers, no ban was imposed.

Tougher penalties needed

British Cycling and campaigners say drivers are being let off too lightly and want tougher penalties. Ex-Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman said: "Our legal system doesn't support fully enough the more vulnerable road user and it doesn't reflect the responsibility people have when they drive a car. If you seriously injure someone or behave badly on the roads then I think we should see an awful lot more licences taken away, and I think that would very quickly improve behaviour."

A spokeswoman for the AA said: "The courts already have a wide range of sentences that they can give to drivers who kill cyclists, whether it's through careless or dangerous driving.”  

The maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving is 14 years and five years for death by careless driving.


I drive 15K plus miles a year, have ridden both cycles and motorcycles. This is not an easy topic with both drivers and riders to blame for the deaths and accidents that occur on our roads. Whilst riding a bicycle with lights and wearing a flourescent jacket I have come close to being knocked off my bike and drivers claiming, " I didn't see you". So what hope is there for the rider wearing dark clothing, having no lights and zipping on and off the pavement got of being seen. But no doubt the poor car driver will carry the can when these mindless or I'll informed people get hurt or killed.

It peeves me to endlessly read motorists complaining of cyclists without lights. Time after time whilst out driving I see dozens of motorists with defective front, rear, and break lights; and in pouring rain driving without lights. So stop passing the buck!

A law requiring cyclists to have rear view mirrors would be useless. Many cyclists ride at night with inadequate or even no lighting and no action is taken. Cyclists also regularly ignore red traffic lights. I am as careful as I can be when driving but it can be very difficult to see an unlit bicycle at night.

The loss of life is tragic. I would like to draw a parallel to motorcyclists who are also vulnerable. We undergo extensive training before getting a full licence. We must also obey the traffic laws – like all road users. One of the keys to staying out of trouble is to constantly be anticipating danger and using our mirrors, with a quick shoulder glance, before changing lanes. Two wheelers are particularly at risk when filtering. Trying to squeeze down the inside of a large truck which may be turning left is suicidal. More should be done to train cyclists to adopt the same survival skills. Finally the police should prosecute councils and highways agencies that don’t keep the roads in a safe state – e.g. potholes and overgrown hedgerows obscuring corners.

Mirrors for cycles? Really? Just what use are they if the drivers are not LOOKING or CONCENTRATING?

@MarcWhite Let me introduce to you to the Highway Code, maybe you've heard of it.... Rule 212 When passing motorcyclists and cyclists, give them plenty of room (see Rules 162 to 167). If they look over their shoulder it could mean that they intend to pull out, turn right or change direction. Give them time and space to do so. Rule 213 Motorcyclists and cyclists may suddenly need to avoid uneven road surfaces and obstacles such as drain covers or oily, wet or icy patches on the road. Give them plenty of room and pay particular attention to any sudden change of direction they may have to make.

I don't think tougher sentences will help (I really don't believe people in general intentionally kill others with their cars) - but better training for both drivers and cyclists so that both are educated as to what it's like to be the other and both groups therefore understand the danger points. Bad weather is another problem - when it rains visibility can be very poor. Cyclists would be well advised to wear very visible clothing in such conditions.

All cyclists should, by law, be made to have at least one rear facing mirror so they are able to see what is approaching them from behind. All too often I see cyclists veering into the carriageway (possibly to avoid metal drainage grates, debris etc alongside the kerb) unaware of vehicles approaching them from the rear. Cyclists are not always blameless and must shoulder some of the responsibility for some accidents involving themselves!

Yes,I teach children as a volunteer their cycle proficiency test at a local junior school in Newport Gwent (age 9-10)and one of the first things I try to impress on them is the importance of looking and clear hand signals in particular at junctions and roundabouts

Debbie Genova - what on earth is a coursing?

I drive 15000 miles a year and cycle 2000. Most motorists are decent and safe. Some are usually decent people who just drive too fast, and take risks with the lives of the vulnerable road user. Until it is socially unacceptable they will keep doing it. The courts need to start being tougher!

Stiffer sentence I'm a driver and sometimes use a bike drivers do not stop at crossing I lost a coursing on a push bike nearly 50 years ago not looking coming out of junction.