15 May Bicycle Safety
Bicycle safety is the use of practices designed to reduce the risks associated with cycling, like being involved in an accident involving a motor vehicle. On study shows that between 60% and 85% of serious cyclist injuries are the result of negligence by a motor vehicle's driver.
While many accidents involve a cyclist alone or hitting a non-motor vehicle such as pedestrian, animal, or tree, collisions involving a motor vehicle put a cyclist in much greater danger. These accounts account for a much larger number of serious injuries. A cyclist who is hit by a car is more likely to be killed than a cyclist who falls off of his or her bicycle. This is because of the energy of the objects involved in a crash. A car will hit anything with more force than a bicycle will, even at very slow speeds, because it weighs so much more.
Due to the number of collisions between cars and bicycles, efforts began in the 1930s to clear bikes from the paths of motor vehicles completely. These efforts were most successful in Germany due in part to the authoritarian regime that was in place. During World War 2, the policies employed by Germany to reduce the risks posed to bicyclists were spread to German-occupied countries such as the Netherlands. The United Kingdom started implementing similar policies during the mid-20th century.
Most policies implemented have tried to devise ways to separate cars and innocent bystanders such as pedestrians and cyclists, either physically or spatially. Physically, cars and bikes have been separated in the past by completely separate paths. Spatially, cars and bicycles are separated through the use of special bike lanes. These have proven to be less effective as there is not a barrier between the two groups. In addition, they have been shown to increase risky driving around cyclists because of the perceived separation, even if that is only a line on the road.
There are a number of things that play a key role in bicycle safety. The main ones are maintenance, lights and conspicuity, and road position. Every cyclist needs a well-maintained and properly functioning machine. Bicycles are one of the few consumer good intention to be maintained by the owner and, as such, should be maintained. Any cyclist needs to inspect and maintain the brakes, headset, handlebars, tires, wheels, and anything else that is on the bike.
If the cyclist is planning on riding at night, lights and reflectors should be used. This is due more to a broadbased, common sense consensus than any scientific study. But it stands to reason that if a driver is actually able to see a cyclist, there is a better chance that the driver will not hit the cyclist. The same theory applies to helmets.
If you would like more information relating bike accidents and safety, please visit http://www.habush.com/articles.htm .