How to avoid bicycle accidents on the roads?02 August 2023
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With a significant increase in bicycle travel, cycling safety is a key issue in all territorial developments. Despite this growing concern, every year almost 4,000 cyclists are injured in accidents in France.
So how can we make cycling safer and avoid accidents?
Vulnerable users in bicycle accidents
Whether in town or outside, it’s essential to take precautions and be well equipped. In addition to this personal organization, the roads and paths used are just as important in ensuring cyclists’ safety and avoiding personal injury.
Compared to a driver in a motor vehicle, the cyclist will always be more vulnerable in the event of an accident, and the damage could be particularly serious. Despite appropriate equipment and increased vigilance, the risk of injury in an accident remains higher. Some collisions can even be extremely dangerous, causing irreversible physical injury to the cyclist over the long term.
Country travel more dangerous than urban mobility
Despite common belief, cycling outside urban areas remains more dangerous than in city centers. The fatality rate is much higher in rural areas, and injuries can quickly become lethal. Cyclists are therefore at greater risk when travelling outside urban areas.
The majority of dangers for cyclists are therefore to be found in suburban areas, rather than in the heart of cities. A large proportion of accidents last year took place outside towns and suburbs. According to the French National Interministerial Road Safety Observatory, 244 cyclists lost their lives on France’s roads in 2022. Among them, only one victim was killed while cycling in Paris that same year.
As the speed limit for cars outside cities is higher, the impact with a bicycle is consequently more dramatic. But this is not the only reason for the higher accident rate. The absence of cycling infrastructure and the lack of visibility on departmental and national roads play a major role.
Cycling accidents due to lack of visibility
Thanks to the growing interest in cycling and the importance attached to soft mobility, the risks associated with cycling are becoming less and less of a problem. The main accident-prone areas are better identified, and local facilities are adapted to the needs of cyclists.
The general trend observed is that when cycling increases in a country, the risk of accidents paradoxically decreases. This phenomenon, known as “safety in numbers“, proves that as the number of cyclists increases, the probability of road accidents decreases. By increasing their numbers, cyclists themselves are helping to slow down traffic and reduce the number of cycling accidents.
Even if traffic is smoothed out thanks to the new bike lanes, accident-prone areas will not be completely eliminated.
3 out of 4 cycling accidents are caused by a fall
It may be surprising, but the main cause of bicycle accidents is not motorists. 70% of bicycle accidents are situations in which the cyclist falls alone. Either following an attempt to avoid an other road user, or after colliding with an obstacle. The obstacle may be a sidewalk, a street post or some other piece of street furniture.
Falls due to slipping on a wet road in wet weather are also common and responsible for physical injury.
Bad weather and poor visibility are among the main causes of cycling accidents. That’s why the development of cycle paths and greenways remains essential to the development of soft mobility and the safety of road accident victims.
Photoluminescence for safer cycling
Many new cycle paths and greenways have been created to improve the daily lives of users of soft mobility. Some existing ones have been upgraded to improve user comfort and safety.
Despite the increase in facilities and signage, there is still a major issue concerning the practicability of cycling at night.
Lack of visibility becomes a major problem as soon as night falls, and the risk of accidents increases. Cyclists lose their sense of direction and find it hard to anticipate obstacles on their path. Unfortunately, accidents can quickly become unavoidable, and personal injury a serious concern.
When street lighting is impossible, photoluminescence is the only sustainable, self-sufficient lighting solution. Our photoluminescent marking lights up as soon as the bike lane is plunged into darkness, and will accompany cyclists for up to 10 hours. Night-time traffic is simplified and the bicycle or pedestrian route is made safer.
LuminoKrom® marks bike lanes and greenways to provide visibility for users and help them anticipate hazards and obstacles. Bicycle accidents are thus avoided.
To mark a bollard, a sign or any other obstacle on a cycle path, choose LuminoKrom® phosphorescent paint.