Safety in Numbers
Cycling gets safer the more cyclists there are.
That's the message of CTC's Safety in Numbers campaign which explains that the more people cycle, the safer it is for each individual cyclist, since places with high levels of cycling are associated with lower risks.
Possible reasons for the "Safety in numbers" effect are:
- Drivers are more aware of cyclists
- Drivers are more likely to be cyclists themselves
- There is greater political will to improve cycling conditions, such as building infrastructure, reducing speed or increasing enforcement of traffic law
We want to halve the risk of cycling and double the numbers at the same time.
Unfortunately current road safety techniques merely count the number of casualties, not the risk. With a substantial increase in cycling, the numbers of cyclists being injured will increase, even if the overall risk falls. Only by changing the way we measure safety from absolute numbers to risk will we be in a position where cycling can be encouraged without leading to conflicting local authority objectives.
In response to pressure from CTC, the Government has adopted an indicator for cycle safety based on risk per mile travelled, not simply numbers of deaths or injuries. This is a major step, but it needs to be followed up by local authorities following the Government's lead.
Taking steps to increase cycling - and at the same time improve safety - will benefit our streets, our health, our communities and the environment, as well as improving safety for all road users.
So how do we do this?
By tackling the fears which prevent people from cycling more:
- Improve driver behaviour
- Make the road environment more welcoming for cyclists through traffic volume and speed reduction and good cycling infrastructure
- Fund schemes that promote cycling positively and improve confidence
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