Motorists are responsible for an overwhelming proportion of accidents between vehicles and bicycles, new research has suggested.
A study from the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia (RAA) examined crash data from across the state and found several danger zones where cyclists were particularly at risk of serious injury.
Accidents and cyclist safety
Adelaide was the least safe place for cyclists to roam, and RAA Senior Manager of Road Safety Charles Mountain claimed riders weren’t usually to blame for accidents.
“In a five-year period, there were 296 casualty crashes involving cyclists in Adelaide. On Rundle Street alone, cyclists were involved in almost half (45 per cent) of all crashes that occurred and, in most cases, were not at fault,” he explained.
“Looking at the report, we can see that most of the crashes occurred at intersections across popular cycling routes and were deemed not to be the fault of the cyclists.”
The survey echoed similar research conducted by the Cycling Promotion Fund and the National Heart Foundation. It found that one of the most common reasons cyclists stopped using their bike was due to safety fears.
Four-fifths of respondents said they would be encouraged to cycle more often if paved paths were provided alongside roads to physically separate riders from vehicles. The same percentage of people agreed the federal government should do more to promote a safety-first culture for cycling.
More driver awareness needed
In 2011, Monash University conducted an experiment that captured bike accidents on video via a helmet camera that riders wore. According to The Conversation, two crashes, six near crashes and 46 other safety incidents occurred across 13 riders over a 127-hour period.
After reviewing the footage, researchers claimed that motorists were responsible for 87 per cent of the potentially dangerous events. Of these, nearly three-quarters of incidents were due to vehicles cutting off the cyclist without providing enough space or indicating effectively.
“In essence, drivers need to be more aware of cyclists on the road,” said Marilyn Johnson, research fellow at the Institute of Transport Studies for Monash University.
“It is essential for cyclist safety that drivers look for cyclists before they change their direction of travel, particularly when turning left.”
Have you been involved in a road accident while cycling? If you suffered injuries as a result of the crash, you may be entitled to compensation, so please get in touch with our team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.