Cycling renaissance

The cycling renaissance is well underway, with more and more Britons turning to the bicycle as a cheaper and healthier form of transportation. Yet Britain’s underdeveloped cycling infrastructure serves as an obstacle to safe commuting. In 2014 the need for effective and reliable legal representation for Britain’s cyclists is more pressing than ever. We at Cycle Assist aim to provide this service.

Cycling has officially hit the mainstream. In the UK there has been a paradigmatic shift: national sporting heroes are no longer limited to football and rugby stars. The 2012 Olympics rejuvenated the nation’s love for cycling: team GB claimed an astonishing 8 gold’s, and the same year saw the first Englishman wear the Tour de France yellow jersey in decades. 2013 saw another Englishman, Chris Froome repeat the miracle.

The Froome and Wiggins effect has encouraged thousands of Briton’s to leave their cars in the driveway and take to the streets on two wheels. According to the British Cycling Association, membership in cycling clubs has reached an all time high of 74,000. One only has to step out of the front door to see evidence of this as hordes of Lycra clad cycling enthusiasts stream by.

Yet, cycling’s growth cannot be solely attributed to those who desire to engage in the sport competitively. With fuel costs rising, and the trend looking unlikely to reverse any time soon, cycling’s appeal has greatly increased. Couple this with growing environmental awareness and numerous government initiatives to improve public health, and the sport’s impressive growth is unsurprising.

A report from the National Travel Survey in 2012 found that the number of cyclists on Britain’s roads increased 23% compared to the 2005 – 2009 period – a further testament to the sport’s growth. However, there is growing evidence to suggest that many Britons are dissuaded from cycling due to concerns over personal safety. In 2014, a BBC poll found that around half of British cyclists did not feel safe on the roads; such a sentiment is not misguided. As numbers of cyclists increase, so too does the number of accidents, (the number of RTAs involving cyclists increasing to around 32% in 2012 as compared to the 2005-2009 period).

Extensive media coverage of the deaths of six cyclists in London in November 2013 brought the issue of cycling safety firmly to the attention of the government. Subsequent public outcry from cycling advocates and numerous campaigns, including the Times’s ‘Cities safe for cycling’, led to the Department for Transport pledging to double expenditure on cycling safety improvements to £347 million.

Despite pledged improvements, it has become increasingly apparent that Britain lags a long way behind many of its European counterparts when it comes to the issue of cycling safety. Sophisticated and safe cycling routes, separate from motor vehicles, are still in their infancy when compared to Germany, Holland and Denmark. Furthermore the government is yet to introduce traffic calming measures in city centers. A ban on HGVs in central London, proposed after a number of deaths, was roundly rejected by the Mayor of London, a measure that in Central Paris led to zero cyclist fatalities since its imposition.

With cyclist numbers increasing at a rapid rate, plus an underdeveloped cycling infrastructure, the need for effective and reliable legal representation for cyclists has never been more apparent. This is particularly important when one considers that a large proportion of the 19,000 RTAs a year involving cyclists are caused by the negligence of other road users.

If you are unlucky enough to be involved in a non-fault accident, then Cycle Assist can help. Cycle Assist, a team of cycle accident compensation solicitors, provides free and expert advice to individuals involved in non-fault bicycle accidents (provided they have been in the last 3 years). Our qualified solicitors work on a no win no fee basis, and aim to get you the compensation you deserve.

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Andrew Barratt