New research from Monash University in Victoria suggests cycling is a high risk activity, even on dedicated bike paths. This small study found nearly a quarter of cycling crashes in Victoria occur in marked bicycle lanes. They are usually in daylight and in clear weather. Most participants were experienced cyclists of more than 10 years.
Men get hurt
Unfortunately, men are most likely to be involved in bicycle crashes because they are most likely to ride bicycles. This is the case in the Victorian study and in NSW, where men account for 90% of deaths and 84% of injuries.
In NSW, there are 300 serious injuries reported each year. It is thought the actual figure is much higher because cyclists do not always report them. Once again, three quarters of these deaths and injuries occur during daylight and in fine weather.
- Most deaths occur at mid-block locations
- Most deaths are on roads with a speed limit above 60kmh
- 60% of Injuries are at intersections and most injuries are on lower speed roads
- 30% deaths and 15% injuries are caused by not wearing helmets.
Nearly half of all bicycle fatalities and injuries involve another vehicle turning across the rider’s path.
Lack of visibility
According to Transport for NSW, the main problem seems to be lack of visibility. Drivers do not see cyclists and cyclists do not see vehicles coming.
The fact there are so many injuries on bike paths is not necessarily an argument against bike paths, It’s a sign many cyclists are using them. When bike paths are close to the flow of traffic, there is still the danger posed by fast-moving vehicles.
More work needs to be done on making cycling safer for cyclists and vehicle drivers, particularly if the NSW government wants more pedestrian and cycling friendly cities.
At least they don’t need green slips.