West Yorkshire District Hit By Rise In Cycle Accidents

Calderdale Accident Toll Soars By A Fifth

17.10.2014

The Calderdale area may have featured prominently in the initial stages of the Tour de France, but it has also become something of an accident blackspot for riders.

While the rural, hilly district in West Yorkshire was shown off to the world as crowds gathered and the peloton passed through during the summer, a freedom of information request has revealed there has been a 21 per cent increase in the number of cyclists being killed or seriously injured in Calderdale, the Brighouse Echo reports.

The sales manager of Cycle Gear in Halifax, Nathan Brennan, said the increased popularity of cycling in the area prompted by Yorkshire hosting the Grand Depart has led to a large rise in the number of people choosing to use pedal power to get around, but with that has come serious danger.

He remarked: "There is a significantly larger amount of people on the roads than there used to be.

"I think it [the higher number of accidents] is both the fault of drivers and cyclists. There is always glass and grit in the cycling lanes, left from road works which is a problem, but cyclists must also use their lights more often so they are visible in low light."

These views were backed by Ann Rutherford, the chairwoman of Brighouse Road Safety Committee, who admitted she no longer cycles on the area's roads for safety reasons.

She said "impatient" motorists often fail to give cyclists any room and consequently create the risk of riders getting knocked off their bikes. However, she noted, cyclists can help themselves by using their lights more and wearing reflective clothing, so they stay visible.

The increase in accidents has not just been confined to Calderdale, as the national figures for the 12 months to the end of March 2014 showed there was a four per cent rise in fatalities. This included 380 in the first three months of the year, up 13 per cent on the equivalent period in 2013.

If you or a loved one has been injured in cycling accident, our specialist cycling accident lawyers could help you claim compensation. Visit our Road Traffic Accident Compensation page for more information.

Expert Opinion
These figures relating to a rise in accidents involving cyclists in West Yorkshire are concerning, particularly after the Tour de France opening ceremony inspired so many people to take to the roads an experience the stages for themselves.

“It is vital all road users are aware of the risks vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, are exposed to and that steps are taken where possible to minimise them. It is everyone’s responsibility to be safe on the roads.

“We have seen first-hand the devastating injuries caused when cyclists and vehicles collide and it is important all road users take steps to boost their safety on the roads, as well as that of other road users.”
Cathryn Godfrey, Associate