Sutton / Wiggins Bike accidents: how do we make cycling safer?


It wasn’t entirely a surprise when I got a call from BBC radio Northampton asking would I be interviewed on their lunchtime show about bike safety, following the recent high profile bike accident of Bradley Wiggins (and since the interview, his coach Shane Sutton)

Bradley Wiggins Crash

“Witnesses have described the scene after the Tour de France winner and multiple Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins was hit by a van while out training on Wednesday evening.

A police source said the injuries from the crash were thought to have been very serious at first, but that it appeared the 32-year-old had suffered only a number of broken ribs and cuts and bruises. He was conscious when taken by ambulance to Royal Preston Hospital.

Wiggins was out riding at about 6pm close to his home in Eccleston, near Chorley in Lancashire, when he was hit by a white Vauxhall Astra Envoy which is said to have emerged from a garage forecourt on to a main road, the A5209, next to junction 27 of the M6 near the village of Wrightington.

A member of staff at the garage, Yasmin Smith, told ITV’s Daybreak she was in the back room when she heard a screeching of tyres and a loud bang, and rushed outside to help.” (From The Guardian Sport News)

Shane Sutton Crash

“Shane Sutton can’t remember what happened on Thursday morning. All he knows is that he had headed out for his usual spin before going to the velodrome in Manchester, where he is head coach for the GB Cycling Team. He likes to get a few hours in on the bike before work.

But as for what happened when he rode along the Stockport Road, the A6, near to the junction with Clare Road in Levenshulme just after 8.55am? Nothing. All he knows is that when he came to, he was en route to Hope hospital.

Doctors would later tell the 54-year-old Australian he had suffered concussion and a small bleed on the brain. His condition soon stabilised, but he was lucky to be alive. The 61-year-old driver of the Peugeot which hit him was not hurt and has not been arrested. (From Guardian Sport News)

It is unclear yet whether anyone will be charged in connection with the two crashes. But a Department for Transport (DfT) analysis of cyclists’ injuries found that two-thirds of crashes involving adult cyclists were deemed by police to be the fault of drivers, with just one in five blamed solely on the cyclist. “Crashes like this are far too common and the reaction from drivers familiar – ‘Sorry mate, I didn’t see you’,” said Peck. “It’s time for the police to start treating incidents of bad driving seriously and for courts to keep bad drivers off the streets.”

My radio interview:

The reactions from listeners to the show were thus: they seemed to agree that cyclists need to ride safe and take responsibility, wear a helmet, high vis, lights, and cycle safely, however there was some debate over who’s fault it is, depending whether you were a cyclist or a motorist. There were some narrow minded views, including suggesting that it was not the motorists responsibility to look down their inside, it was the cyclists responsibility to NOT be there.

The suggested solutions that I have seen so far include:

  • compulosry cycling proficiency test for cyclists
  • compulsory cycling proficiency for motorists
  • improve driver training
  • enforce safety laws on cyclists, suggested inclusions were helmets, insurance, bike MOT, and such like
  • multi faceted approach ensuring ALL parties are more aware of road safety and awareness of other road users.

I would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think should be done to improve road safety for cyclists?

Don’t forget to read the stories on my HELMETS SAVE LIVES CAMPAIGN blog. All true, all first hand accounts from members of the public who feel strongly about bike safety.

One Comment on “Sutton / Wiggins Bike accidents: how do we make cycling safer?

  1. Pingback: NoBloPoMo: Summary of topics covered this November « Melanie Ryding – Ryding2Health BLOG

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