Cars to blame in most accidents involving cycles, says research calling for new road rules

Just found this on today's The Australian web site (22 Nov 10).

NEARLY nine out of 10 accidents involving cyclists and cars in Aust...

The article tells most regular riders what they already know but it is good to see the The Amy Gillett Foundation and Monash University out there making some noise in favour of those of us on two wheels.

If you find a link to the research please post it here.

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Luke, I had a squizz at this and this might be "old news". The Monash Uni website has a media release about this months ago, and I could only find a published report that dates back a year or two (its a 3.5Mb PDF here

Interesting statistics though....
This happens a lot. Gushing headline but when you go to find the report its hidden away or doesn't seem to exist. It would really help if the papers put a link to the report they are talking about (how hard would it be?).

This was also reported in the SMH with an AAP byline so I'm guessing there must have been a press release about it this week? The SMH report had a couple of extra factoids - the study used helmet mounted video cameras and analysed interactions between cyclists and motorists (so I think it is different to the one you found). I remember hearing someone on ABC RN talking about this study about a year ago - saying how the video data showed that cyclists were always looking all over the place to keep an eye on what motorists are doing (I think we would call it riding defensively). However, the SMH piece seemed to imply that in the three years of the study there had only been around 50 incidents of which 2 were collisions (don't know how many cyclists were wearing the cameras on their helmets). So I am a bit cautious about jumping to any conclusions like "90% of accidents were motorists' fault" based on tiny numbers like that. Then again, the paper could be wrong...if only we had the actual report!
Tell that to the senior SAPOL officer who was quoted in the Southern Messenger this week (something closely to the effect) that they were concerned about the increase in accidents involving cyclists and that SAPOL will look closely at the adherence of cyclists to the SA road regulations. I really liked that. We get hit, but it is probably our fault. That's the inference as I read it. I've been cleaned up twice and on both occasions the motorist gets a driving without due care fine. A couple of points and a pathetic fine. I'll trade that with my stay in the hospital anytime. And if I see one more police car park in a bike lane or drive by other cars who do so and put our lives at risk..... And they want to assess our adherence to the traffic code?.... How about we assess their duty in keeping us safe.
There was an interview about this with the CEO of Amy Gillett foundation this afternoon, on 891. Maybe somebody who knows how to do these things could providethe link.
Richard, I know how you feel. Three times I have been injured by negligent drivers and, although I was left with permanent back injuries, not one of the negligent drivers was fined. Is the system sending the message that it is OK to hit and injure cyclists?
I got pretty upset when the SAPOL officer after the recent death of a cyclist on the Northern expressway strongly implied that these sorts of roads aren't for cyclists. Read into that what you like, but it doesn't inspire confidence in SAPOL's understanding of the rights of road users other than motorists. Many in the cycling lobby just asks us to stay calm and things will improve. But more and more cyclists and pedestrians get buried each year. It's not SAPOL's fault, but somehow, someway nothing seems to improve. I've been riding on SA roads since the mid-late 1970's and nothing has really changed. Nothing! As long as you put cars and cyclist together, the latter is the worse off. Motorists will never give a stuff about us. I would argue that things are actually worse. With the advent of climate controlled metal boxes with airbags all round they will always wonder what the hell we are doing 'out there'. They hit us hard and they taste marshmellow (maybe) and we taste bitumen. Simple as that.
Yep - I too was appalled at that comment - cyclists too are road users and have rights on the road as well as responsibilities. The courts treat us as any other road user but yet the people whom are supposed to be watching out are just that - people. The culture of cyclists as road users has yet to catch on and such dumb comments do not help.

I cycled along that same road a couple of weeks ago - not peak hour - nice and fast slick road surface - not so safe for cyclist/traffic road merges. Glad it was not peak hour. The signs were adamant that cyclists must cross at certain points, I'm busy traffic savvy but I'd expect those signs are there for a reason. However I was drawn to run through as it is a great bit of slick road - my heart skipped a beat when I watch behind as my cycling buddy had to cross in front of a truck. One must accelerate/decelerate accordingly - or else get off the road! Not for the faint of heart!!
some interesting stats here,:

In 2009 66% of all fatalities and 53% of serious injuries occur on rural roads
In 2009 39% of country fatalities occur on straight sections of road
54% of fatal crashes occur on open rural roads are single vehicle crashes such as Hitting Fixed Objects and leaving the road out of control
36% of fatal and serious injury crashes occur when vehicles hit fixed objects and leaving the road out of control.

Who are the people who die in road crashes?
Drivers 50%
Passengers 28%
Pedestrians 8%
Motorcyclists 12%
Cyclists 2%

Who are the people seriously injured in road crashes?
Drivers 64%
Passengers 23%
Pedestrians 8%
Cyclists 5%
Got any modal share statistics to go with this? Looks to me like drivers are underrepresented relative to their modal share but I'd be interested to know if that's correct.
There's a statistic I would like to see -the number of cyclists injured who were riding on their own as opposed to those riding in a group. My observation is that motorists see (and hate) groups of cyclists but therefore have to avoid them. The individual cyclist, often a commuter is far more at risk. Thats one good reason to always ride with others.
I think that is an interesting train of thought there.
A lone cyclist has a greater degree of vulnerability (harder to see) but if they keep left or in a the bike lane they are easier to pass by a faster moving vehicle travelling in the same direction.
So the lone cyclist, travelling in the same direction as the car, can be perceived to be less of an obstruction and might get a more considerate deal.
This does not apply when drivers are waiting to pull out of a T-Junction or turn right in front of you and a junction. And certainly the Monash study and accident stats shows that these situations are when cyclists get clocked.

Groups of cyclists are highly visible. With that high visibility comes undue attention from other road users. They get blamed for slowing cars down, it is great knee jerk media fodder, but the driver would verge on being a sociopath to seriously and deliberately run into a group (it does happen - albeit rarely). But ultimately with a group there is a force of numbers and witnesses.
My personal feeling is that it can also nurture a 'herd mentality' where road rules can easily get forgotten or ignored, perhaps due to concentrating or conversing with surrounding cyclists, thinking about the hazards of bunched up cycling, or just enjoying the ride and the vast expanse of road in front of them.

Overall, I think you are right about it being safer riding with a group. And the stats reflect that.

Conversely there would also be other factors that give greater safety for the individual such as chosing better/safer routes to cycle, maximising visibility, hazard awareness, cycling experience etc..


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