Motorists at fault in bicycle crashes
Tuesday, October 5, 2010, 11:48 am | Reported by Kayla Brereton
Queensland motorists will have to stop blaming cyclists for their crashes.
A new study providing the first real insight into bicycle crashes has found motorists are largely at fault.
The extensive study by The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety (Carrs-Q), found motorists are to blame for over half the accidents involving bicycles.
Carrs-Q looked at more than 6000 bicycle crashes reported to police between January 2000 and December 2008.
They found cyclists were only responsible for 44 per cent.
Carrs-Q Senior Researcher Amy Schramm said lack of due care from both cyclists and motorists cause the accidents.
“Both riders and drivers need to be more understanding and accommodating,” she said.
“Cyclists need to be aware of the impact they’re having on car drivers and need to be aware of the impact that they can have on cyclists.”
Mrs Schramm said most accidents occurred because drivers failed to look out for cyclists and have been taught to only watch out for cars.
“If you are only looking for cars then more often than not you will only see cars,” she said.
“Whereas if you are looking for motorbikes, cyclists and pedestrians then you are more likely to see them if they’re there.”
However, when cyclists were responsible for the crashes, it was mainly because riders knowingly took risks.
Earlier this year, Queensland Transport found many cyclists avoided road rules and chose not to wear a helmet.
Aami Insurance Spokesman Mike Sopinski said motorists’ constant anger towards cyclists is a major concern.
“The interaction between cars and bicycles continues to be a source of conflict for riders and drivers alike,” he said.
Mr Sopinski said a recent study by Aami Insurance, which also looked into bicycle crashes, found motorists were also largely to blame.
“Many of the responses we received highlight that motorists tend to see cyclists as a nuisance and are not always willing to share the road,” he said.
“This attitude causes many accidents for motorists and cyclists.”
Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Campbell Newman recently dropped speed limits within the CBD to protect cyclists and pedestrians.
Mr Campbell told Brisbane Times the council is considering reducing speed limits again to make the CBD more pedestrian friendly.
“We don’t want our CBD to be a place where people roar through in their cars.’’
‘‘Ultimately, like with other world CBDs, the Brisbane CBD has to be particularly about the dominance of pedestrians and cyclists,’’ he said.
With Brisbane’s CityCycle scheme just launched, the CBD now has 2,000 more bikes.
With Brisbane experiencing a cycling boom, experts are urging motorists to slow down and pay attention.