Staying safe in the saddle

DEKRA Info September 2018

Man on a bike
Number of cycle accidents still high

Number of cycle accidents still high

An increasing number of us are turning to the cycle as a means of transport. And why not, cycling has a lot to offer: it keeps you fit, helps the environment and for short distances frequently gets you quicker to your destination than the car. However, it does have a downside and that is the consistently high number of accidents involving cyclists on the road. In 2017, there were 382 cyclist fatalities and more than 79,000 injured in road accidents; 36 percent died following a collision with a car, while 26 percent were single vehicle accidents. Stefanie Ritter, DEKRA accident researcher says what cyclists should look out for in particular:

Junctions: Typical danger zones are all types of junctions, street corners and forks in the road because motorists frequently overlook a cyclist when turning off. Above all, those involved in blind spot accidents suffer the severest of injuries. Ritter: "At junctions and street corners it is extremely important, even if they have right of way, that cyclists should always bear in mind that a vehicle might be passing across their own path and therefore stop. However, under no circumstances stop next to a waiting truck, do not turn off next to it and do not pass it on the right, but instead wait until it has moved off."

Narrow sections: Narrow sections of road like sharp bends, streets with poor visibility or underpasses are also frequently sites of accidents. Here the cyclist needs to be proactive and adapt speed accordingly. The cyclist must especially always reckon on another cyclist or pedestrian coming from non-visible areas.

Distance: Skimming past pedestrians or other cyclists too closely when overtaking is a constant source of danger. Keep enough distance so that the cyclists or pedestrians being overtaken are not endangered if they are startled and make a reflex reaction. This is why cyclists should ring their bell to signal their intention to overtake and keep a safe distance.

Speed: Pedelecs and e-bikes are fairly nippy road vehicles, but at first glance they are virtually indistinguishable from normal cyclists. Their speed is therefore often incorrectly estimated by motorists, pedestrians and other cyclists. This, too, often results in serious accidents. The higher speed combined, in certain circumstances, with a slippery surface can lead to particularly serious single vehicle accidents involving elderly and less experienced cyclists if they underestimate the risks and demands required of them. DEKRA reminds readers that it is essential to wear a helmet when cycling and this especially includes in town. This significantly reduces the risk of death in an accident.

Contact

Tilman Vögele-Ebering

Press officer Industrial

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