by Elliot Johnston April 25 2014
Injuries to cyclists double amid concern about "anti-social" riding...
New data from the Netherlands shows an increase in the number of bike-on-bike cycle path collisions causing injuries that require a visit to A&E, leading to concerns about a growth in “anti-social” cycling and and worries that in some areas the cycle paths are approaching the limit of their capacity.
According to Dutch road safety body VeiligheidNL(link is external), the increased number of collisions can be put down to the increased traffic on cycle paths and trails.
VeiligheidNL’s data shows that 11% of Dutch cyclists had experienced an accident involving another cyclist, while a quarter had experienced an incident, or a near-incident with another cyclist at some point in the last three years.
Of these incidents 65% resulted in injury and of the injured, 60% were middle-aged men.
The road safety body’s data shows that injuries requiring a vist to a hospital emergency department more than doubled over the five years between 2007 and 2012. The figure for hospitalised cyclists stood at 2,000 per year for the period between 2007 and 2010, but then rose to 3,700 in 2011, and then again to 4,200 in 2012.
Despite the rise in injured cyclists, the number of hours that cyclists spend training dropped from 250 to 200 million hours after 2010.
Racing cyclists also said that only about a third of the accidents in which they were involved took place in built-up areas, and that most incidents occur on cycle paths.
The research went on to state that 51% of all of the incidents in their survey occurred as a result of inadequate consideration on the part of one of the cyclists involved in the collision, while 35% of the incidents were considered to have been caused by an error of judgement.
The report says that the line between antisocial behaviour and cyclists taking too little account of others is thin, and noted that only 26% of the cyclists questioned took responsibility for the collisions they'd been in.
Further comments in the study suggested that half of the riders surveyed think that cyclists do not adjust their speed according to cycle path conditions regularly enough, and a third believe that cyclists do not take sufficient account of other road users.
The concentration of cyclists on cycle paths is not the only problem facing Dutch cyclists.
We reported earlier in the month that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had released data stating that 10,000 lives per year could be saved in Western capitals alone if cycling were as popular as it is in Copenhagen.
According to WHO statistics, cycling accounts for 26% of journeys in Copenhagen. In Amsterdam, 33% of the city’s journeys are being made by bike.
This sample-topping figure comes at the end of a 20 year period which has seen 40% growth in the use of bikes in the city, according to dutchnews.nl(link is external).
The website went on to express concerns that the city’s infrastructure is struggling to handle such levels of cycling, highlighting the narrow bike lanes and over-encumbered bike racks that are “beginning to affect accessibility”.