With the number of Scots cyclists continuing to rise during the coronavirus lockdown, it seems almost inevitable that those who are new to cycling will continue riding on the roads even when social distancing eases.
Recent research by Cycling Scotland, which has been monitoring cycle use since 2017, has shown the pandemic has prompted a big increase in the number of people going out and about on bikes throughout the country.
The biggest increases were observed in areas Dunfermline, Newton Mearns and Dundee.
Solicitors at our personal injury firm Watermans are concerned that the increased number of cyclists could lead to a “disastrous” risk of more collision accidents when car numbers return to ‘normal.’
We have previously noticed a 25 per cent increase annually in road traffic claims around the time the clocks change in October, when it becomes darker earlier in the evening.
Scott Whyte, Managing Director at Watermans, said: “Obviously it’s a good thing that people are continuing to exercise during the coronavirus lockdown however our concern is that an increased number of cyclists, potentially those who are new to cycling or less experienced, could also lead to a rise in collisions on the road.
“If the current cycling numbers jump when car numbers return to what is considered ‘normal,’ then clearly there is risk of more accidents occurring.
“This risk is even further exacerbated in the winter months, which brings with it icy and slippy road conditions, potentially increasing the risk of road accidents.
“We see the consequences in this area through representing both cyclists and pedestrians who have been injured when the traffic is busier and when winter conditions make the roads treacherous.
“With increasing numbers of cyclists on the road during the coronavirus lockdown, this is an issue that is bound to arise. Action needs to be taken to keep road users safe.”
John Dillon, Associate Director at Watermans, is also concerned over potential carnage on the roads as people have become less used to getting behind the while in recent months.
Reduced visibility and increased difficulty in judging speed and distance when driving in the dark can put even the most experiences of drivers at risk.
John said: “Our concern is that there will be more accidents because less people have been out on the roads in recent months and perhaps haven’t been used to driving for some time.
“Then, when they return to busier conditions they will be ‘rusty’ behind the wheel and more likely to be either the cause of or involved in an accident.
“We may also see an increase in cycling accidents if there is a phased easing of lockdown. You are seeing more cars on the road due to people going back to work but you will also have the cyclists out getting exercise and a potentially disastrous mixing of the two.”
If you have been involved in a cycling accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our solicitors today for free advice.