Personal Injury

Tour de France: Common cycling accidents

Estimated read time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, August 28, 2020

The Tour de France returns this weekend – one of the few major sporting events we’ll see this year.

The race typically brings with it a boost to cycling around the world, with more people being inspired to get on their bikes.

Cycling popularity is already at a high in the UK, with the government placing an emphasis on it as part of its strategy to get the nation healthier and people everywhere taking to two wheels during the coronavirus lockdown.

In fact, there were reports of bikes selling out as people looked for ways of getting around, exercising and entertaining themselves.

But it could also bring with it the risk of more cycling accidents.

Cyclists at risk

The UK has seen real success at the Tour de France, racking up six wins from three cyclists. The country’s cyclists dominated the race in the 2010s, with Sir Bradley Wiggins kicking the trend off. Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas followed in his tracks, with Froome winning four times.

But the UK can sometimes be a dangerous place to cycle.

Cyclists are some of the most vulnerable road users in the UK – second only to motorcyclists in casualty rate per billion miles travelled. In 2018/19, 3,790 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents, according to Department for Transport data.

The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured rose by 21% from 2008 to 2018 – an increase put down to a rise in cycle traffic on UK roads in that time. But when cyclists only made up 1% of traffic in 2018 and 5.5% of fatalities and 14.5% of serious injuries, these are disproportionate figures.

Common cycling injuries

Cyclists – especially those serious about the sport – are usually no stranger to an injury. The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) has collated the most common cycling injuries, with knee pain coming in first.

Perhaps more worryingly is the fact head injuries are also listed as one of the most common cycling injuries. This includes anything from a scratch on the face to a traumatic brain injury. Although URMC points out that a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by 85%, cyclists are not legally required to wear one.

Neck and back pain is also common, as is wrist and forearm pain and numbness. But these injuries are almost expected by those who use their bikes often. What’s not expected are the injuries that come from cycling accidents.

Accidents when cycling

When sharing the road with bigger and more powerful vehicles, cyclists can come off second best. This is why cycling can be a dangerous activity for many.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), human error is the main factor contributing to cycling accidents in the UK. In most accidents involving cyclists, driver or rider error was the most commonly reported reason for the incident.

Junctions are a particularly dangerous place to find yourself as a cyclist. Car drivers’ failure to look properly has been cited as the cause of 57% of serious collisions at junctions, says ROSPA. Drivers also pose a risk by turning or manoeuvring poorly and driving recklessly. Cyclists are also at greater risk of serious injury when drivers are under the influence of alcohol or speeding.

Although other road users are a threat to cyclists, the actual roads they ride on can lead to accidents too. The UK has long had a problem with potholes and other road maintenance issues.

In March 2020, chancellor Rishi Sunak used his first Budget to announce the “largest ever” investment in strategic roads in England. Part of this was intended to repair around 50 million potholes around the country – a significant threat to cyclists.

After an accident

If you’ve found yourself inspired by the Tour de France only to end up in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be able to make a claim for compensation.

To find out how First4Lawyers and our No Win No Fee solicitors can help you, just get in touch. Give us a call, request a call back at a convenient time or start your claim online and we’ll get back to you.

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