Cyclists 20 times more likely to be hurt on the roads of the UK


Cycling is a sport that is growing in popularity but unfortunately many people are not fully aware of the high risk of being injured on the road. A recent study has shown that in the UK, people are 20 times more likely to be hurt on the roads if they are on a bicycle as they are to be if they were in a car or other motor vehicle.

Even though this figure is quite alarming, it compares rather favourably compared with Australia, where cyclists are nearly 35 times more likely to be injured on a bicycle then in a car. Motorcycling is an activity that is known to be dangerous and those who ride a motorcycle are still the highest risk group. They are only slightly more likely to die than an Australian cyclist, but when compared to the UK figure for cyclists, motorcyclists are still at a significantly increased risk.

One of the reasons why cyclists can become injured so easily is because they don’t wear a great deal of safety kit. Car drivers are protected in a large shell of metal, and motorcycle riders wear a lot of protective gear. Most cyclists will only wear helmets for protection, and not even this is a legal requirement. A cycling accident without a helmet present can be a serious risk and it is often the case that people suffer brain trauma.

The statistics surrounding cycling are very interesting as cyclists do tend to live longer, especially if they cycle more and faster. This is because of the additional exercise they are getting, however, they are more likely to die on the road than a slower, infrequent cyclist.

More cyclists on the road in recent years has meant that the number being injured every year has increased. The government has stated that car drivers have to be more vigilant for cyclists on the road as they can be easy to miss. Cyclists have also been urged to obey the rules of the road and are reminded that the rules also apply to them, although they are rarely enforced with penalties.


  1. I have been cycling on Norfolk roads for 6 years now (15 miles per day, 6 days per week) and I have to say that they are getting more dangerous. I used to cycle regularly on the Holt Road, but I have had to stop after many near misses. Most of my near misses have occurred when a vehicle (size doesn’t seem to be an issue) is late in adjusting for the over taking manoeuvre. I have experienced both family cars and lorries that seem to aim at at my back wheel as a guide as to when to start their swerve and many are still adding to their distance from me well after my front wheel. If only they could adjust they position prior to the point of overtaking the whole process would be potentially less dangerous for both parties.

    Using the Holt Road in Norfolk as a straw poll, I would say that the biggest culprits for this are Vans, Trucks and Larger Cars (My particular bane are cars with low profile tyres, which make them sound positively deadly as they approach and skim my elbows when passing).

    Another dangerous situation that occurs regularly on Norfolk roads is [what I would call] the ‘3 car dash’. My latest one of these was at around 4pm on the Reepham Road heading out of Reepham towards Norwich, along a particularly straight [and potentially fast] stretch of road. I was ahead of 3 vehicles (unknown at the time), the first (a van) over took me with about 100 meters of clear road between them and oncoming traffic (a small car). The road is single lane in both direction and without any centre line or side line markings. The second car followed in the slip stream of the first vehicle with around 35 meters of clear road before the oncoming car reached us. The first time that I realised that the third car was also going to try and follow its predecessors was when I heard the screams coming from within the oncoming car (windows open). Screeching of breaks and a quick look over my shoulder to see a man in his late 20’s looking scared, shocked and somewhat intimidated by the swearing 6ft, 16 stone cyclist that he very nearly killed with his stupidity.

    I just felt that I had to write to say that most incidents involving cars and cyclists are not caused by the cyclist. The vast majority of reporting on these incidents insinuates that the blame lies with both parties equally, but this is not true outside of cities. On countryside roads, which are broadly speaking less wide than most city roads, the cyclist must be treated as a equally important vehicle and not, as is happening, some annoying bollard for the cars and lorries to whoosh past as closely as possible. Country roads suffer from pot holes, cracking edges and cambers. Bicycles can’t ride out the lumps and bumps that cars take for granted, they have to swerve.

    If you (the driver) treat us as something that will never swerve, never lose concentration … You will eventually run one of us over.