Within two days two high profile cyclists have been injured and hospitalised which has generated a lot of debate as to how safe it is to cycle. All this blog can do is open up a few thoughts on the subject.
Take a look at this info: 8 short summary pages & count the number of times the word ‘accident’ is used.
From a cause & effect angle my ‘accident’ question is highly relevant. The answer is nil times yet the media demonstrates no understanding of the fundamental difference between an accident, an incident, a crash and a collision. Please see www.brake.org.uk the road safety charity, for the references used below.
A traffic collision is when a vehicle collides with another road user, vehicle, pedestrian, animal, or geographical or architectural obstacle. Traffic collisions can result in injury, property damage, and death and when severe injury or death rfesults, the effects on all the many lives concerned are hugely high in personal and to society in financial terms.
As the factors involved in collisions have become better understood, some organisations do not use the term ‘accident’ as the word suggests an occurrence which is unpreventable, unpredictable and unavoidable and disregards the opportunity for the driver(s) involved to avoid it happening. Although vehicle collisions are rare in terms of the number of vehicles on the road and the distance they travel, addressing the contributing factors can reduce their likelihood. That is why these organisations prefer the term ‘collision”rather than ‘accident.
Its not by accident that a number of police authorities refer to ‘incidents’ they attend as do Mountain Search & Rescue teams, the RNLI and other emergency services. Why? Because they do not make an instant judgement whether the occurrence they are attending was unpreventable, unpredictable and / or unavoidable.
So what is the relevance to road users including cyclists who are seriously injured or killed (KSI stats)? Well it’s this: every action has a consequence which is what we mean by cause & effect. Calling a collision an accident merely fudges the highly relevant issue of who caused it to happen.
My view is that all vehicle drivers, pedestrians and cyclists need to realise they are responsible for the result of their actions on and off the road network. I have an associated view that this world would be a far better place if we all made an effort to be much more considerate and courteous to each other at all times wherever we are and whatever we are doing.
Add to that a higher level of awareness & alertness in potentially dangerous situations and KSI stats WILL plummet and that means so will the numbers of damaged bodies, damaged lives and the inevitable high costs that always follow.
And how dangerous is leading an inactive life? There’s just space to refer to only one consequence of leading an inactive life – see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15975564
Why not re-read my fairly recent blog ‘Why cycle?’ if you are still unsure of the reasons.