A new study suggests that UK cyclists experience ‘very high’ rates of non-injury incidents or near misses, by comparison with any reported injury rates, and this is leading to a fear of injury which in itself is a barrier to cycling.
The study, by researchers from the University of Westminster, found that the most frightening incidents involve moving motor vehicles, particularly larger vehicles, and that ‘problematic passing manoeuvres are especially frequent and frightening’. Higher near miss rates are experienced in the morning peak and by slower cyclists.
The researchers set out to investigate the occurrence of non-injury incidents among cyclists, in order to generate a rate that can be compared with injury rates. They also analysed factors affecting incident rates, and the impact of these incidents on cyclists.
They concluded that ‘frightening or annoying non-injury incidents’, unlike slight injuries, are an everyday experience for cyclists. For regular cyclists ‘very scary’ incidents are on average a weekly experience, with deliberate aggression experienced monthly. Per mile, non-injury incidents were more frequent for people making shorter and slower trips.
People aged over 55 years were at lower risk, as were those cycling at the weekend and outside the morning peak. Unsurprisingly, incidents involving motor vehicles, especially larger vehicles, were more frightening than those that did not.
The report concludes: “Near miss and other non-injury incidents are widespread in the UK and may have a substantial impact on cycling experience and uptake.”