Cycle Expert Calls for Training After Spate of Accidents

August 14, 2009

A leading cycling journalist has called for more adults to take cycle training courses after a spate of accidents in Bristol during the last two weeks.

Four cyclists have been injured on city roads since the 6th of August, including a man who died after a crash on the A370 on Tuesday.

It comes after the death on the Portway in January of cyclist Nick Abraham, son of former Lord Mayor Peter Abraham.

Rob Spedding, editor of Bath-based Cycling Plus magazine, said: “If you can, look for an adult equivalent of the cycling proficiency test. British Cycling runs a scheme called Bikeability and there are others which are also geared to adults.

“There are so many people who are coming back to cycling or are getting on a bike for the first time. It can be quite scary.

“Cyclists should be confident without being arrogant. Respect other road users and treat others as you would like to be treated.”

Figures obtained by #SITE_NAME# from the Bristol Cycling City project show cyclists made up around 15% of people injured on Bristol’s roads between 2006-2008, despite accounting for just 6% of traffic.

Official figures for 2009 have not been collected yet, but with at least two deaths already recorded, as many cyclists have died on Bristol’s roads so far in 2009 as in the previous three years combined.

But Rob denies Bristol’s roads are getting more dangerous for cyclists. He said: “We need to make it clear that cycling is not that dangerous.

More people cycling than ever before, but road deaths involving cyclists are at an all-time low. We need to get that in perspective.

“I don’t think Bristol is any more dangerous for cyclists than any other city in the country.”

Emma Barraclough, a spokeswoman for the Bristol Cycling Campaign, said: “We wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the cyclist who died following a collision with a lorry on Winterstoke Road on Tuesday August 11.

“The Bristol Cycling Campaign calls for Bristol Council to come up with a design for the city’s roads that ensures that pedestrians and cyclists can get to their home, work or school without having to travel in fear for their lives.

“It is impossible for Bristol Council’s targets of doubling cycling to be achieved without increasing the numbers of collisions, unless there is a step change in the way that all of us in the city treat the most vulnerable road users.”



  1. I can see where Rob Spedding is coming from re cycling proficiency, but from what I’ve heard (eg here: http://greenbristolblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/carnage-in-cycling-city.html) a good number of these accidents were caused by commercial vehicles turning left and hitting cyclists in their blind spots- it sounds like at least some of the victims were even riding cycle lanes when the crashes happened. No amount of cycle training is going to help if a lorry turns left onto you while you’re in the cycle lane.

    Personally I feel that Cycling Plus magazine would be better advocating the city spend money on improving cycle lanes so that vehicles can’t just drive across them. This would have two health benefits that putting the onus on cyclists to prevent lorries crashing into them doesn’t- existing cyclists would be less likely to get hurt, and non-cyclists may be more eager to give cycle a go.

  2. Mike says that ‘no amount of cycle training wll help if a lorry turns left onto yu in the cycle lane’
    Actually Mike what adult cycle training would tell you is not to be in the cycle lane if there is a lane to the right of it where traffic may be turning left ahead.
    I know because I am an adult cycle instructor. It’s maybe not that well understood, but confidence on the roads involves all sorts of improvement not only in skills but in thinking about where to be on the road. Being visible is essential and no cyclist is very visible who cycles by the kerb in a cycle lane. It can often be much safer and more comfortable to cycle in the stream of traffic where you are very visible and also can see better. I also teach cyclists to get into ASL’s and wait in a position that makes them visible and gives them a straight run to their chosen direction. This way it’s extremely unlikely that they will end up on the inside of any lorry. Cycle lanes are not a panacea and often take cyclists to places at junctions that are not the best place to wait.

  3. Bikecat- as a cyclist myself I agree with you on this- I can think of plenty of examples where it’s much safer to avoid the cycle lane entirely than to ride in the gutter, or make hair-raising turns across traffic/ pedestrians.

    That said, I think there is a wider problem here. The city- indeed, the Cycle City- in providing cycle lanes which can be too dangerous to use is badly letting its citizens down.

  4. PS- I’m the same Mike who commented at #1, but now logged in 😉

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