Time for laws to keep cyclists safe

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The tragic death of Benjamin Hydes reported in The Star on Saturday, highlights the dangers cyclists face on our roads.

It is an unfortunate fact that when a bicycle is in collision with a motor vehicle there is only one sure outcome – the cyclist will come off worst. With this in mind may I offer some “food for thought”.

A study of 116 fatal cyclist accidents in London and rural areas found over 70% of the cyclist fatalities had moderate or serious head injuries, and over 80% of those killed in collisions on rural roads.

Although rule 45 of the Highway Code recommends it, there is no legal requirement to ensure cyclists wear a helmet.

Perhaps it is now time for the introduction of legislation for guidance courses on safety issues for all cyclists in particular on the use of roundabouts and T junctions where most accidents occur.

Motorists and cyclists share approximately equal blame (ROSPA figures) for accidents which occur at T junctions, with failure to make adequate checks to ascertain their exit routes are clear being the main cause of the accidents.

Drivers are conditioned to look for other vehicles and fail to see the cyclist.

Perhaps, if all cyclists took advice from rule 45 of the Highway Code and wore highly visible reflective strips they would be seen more easily.

Their cycles could also have a number plate in a suitably prominent place on the front and back of their vehicle.

In 2008, the European Commission introduced a directive making daytime running lights mandatory on all new cars, vans, trucks and buses by August 2012.

Should bicycles also have permanently lit lights to make them more visible?

Finally, as a plea to all road users, in particular cyclists, I would like to make them aware of the simple, but deadly fact that when using the road don’t take chances, keep looking around you and be aware because “the most dangerous component in any vehicle is the nut behind the wheel”.

Colin Levesley, Rotherham