Our roads are becoming more and more congested but not just for road vehicles. The desire to remain fit and healthy during lockdown has seen more people regularly out walking, running and cycling. Yet with so many more people now getting around on foot, bikes and now also on e-scooters, there are concerns for increased risk to road users.
Latest road safety data for Great Britain shows pedestrians account for 26% of road deaths, motorcyclists 20% and cyclists 6%.
Who are at risk?
Children running out into the road without looking
‘Distracted walkers’ texting or talking on their mobile phones whilst walking
People with decreased mobility or difficulties in seeing or hearing approaching traffic
Cyclists and motorcyclists
Can be difficult to see, especially at junctions and roundabouts and turning right into a road
Can be affected by side winds, causing them to sway or wobble
Children on bikes may ride out into the road
Horses are easily frightened and can panic in traffic
Most accidents are due to vehicles not allowing enough space as they pass
Many incidents involving horses happen on minor roads and in rural areas
The Government is currently conducting e-scooter trials in several towns and cities to assess their safety and suitability. Concerns include:
Small wheels can struggle with uneven surfaces and potholes
If the e-scooter has lights, they may be at a very low level and hard to see
No mirrors or indicators means it is difficult for riders to see anyone approaching from behind, as well as signalling their intentions to other people
What are the most common risks?
As you might expect, rush hour is the most dangerous time for incidents. Around 80% of cycling accidents happen in urban areas, mainly around T-junctions and traffic islands.
Professional drivers andfleet operators will be familiar with the risks caused by ‘blind spots.’ These are the areas around the vehicle that a driver cannot see by looking through the windows or standard mirrors. Blind spots affect many vehicle types but are especially worrying on larger vehicles such as buses, coaches and trucks. The result could be a driver not seeing a cyclist pedalling up the inside of the vehicle.
Speed is also a factor
Drivers travelling at higher speeds will have less time to react, and the higher the speed, the more serious the accident can be.
If a vehicle hits a pedestrian at 30 miles per hour there’s a 1 in 5 chance that they will die
If a vehicle hits a pedestrian at 40 miles per hour there’s a 90% chance of their death