Commuter Cycling: How Safe Are Cyclists on UK Roads?
In recent years, the desire to cycle to work has increased due to factors such as rising fuel costs and worries surrounding climate change and the effects of vehicle pollution. Although numbers may have dwindled since remote working became a more popular option, it is still a popular choice. Around 180,000 people a year participate in the Government’s ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme, which allows employees to buy a bike via their employer, tax-free. However, as more people take to cycling as part of their commute, this can increase the occurrence of accidents.
In this guide, we will explore the risks that commuter cyclists can face on the road, how they can keep themselves safe, and why cycle insurance could help should a commuter’s bike be damaged or stolen.
What are the biggest risks for cyclists who commute to work?
Although serious cycling accidents on the road are rare, many cyclists still fear for their safety when commuting to work. In fact, according to our 2023 survey, 87.5% of respondents said they do not feel safe when cycling on the road.
During peak times on the road, such as the morning and afternoon rush hours, there are more cars and therefore more opportunities for accidents, especially if there is no designated bike lane. When commuting to work during these peak times, cyclists can feel nervous or worried due to the number of cars around them. There are more hazards for cyclists, as well as drivers, to be aware of during peak times, so cyclists who commute to work are, in fact, in more danger.
According to our survey, 67.9% of respondents said they believe drivers are the biggest hazard to cyclists when commuting to work. Although road users can often get into accidents with cyclists, they are not the only hazard that commuters should be wary of. Weather and road conditions, sharp turns and even the state of the bike can all affect how safe cyclists are on the road.
If cyclists need to leave their bike in a public space for work, they are more likely to fall victim to theft than if their bike was left securely on site. On average, one bike is stolen every seven minutes in the UK, so there are various different elements that cyclists need to consider before choosing to cycle to work.
How can cyclists protect themselves when commuting?
When commuting to work by bike, cyclists need to ensure that they are safe and that their bike is protected when left outside. It is worth becoming aware of how the highway code applies to cyclists to avoid potential accidents and human error when on the road.
Cyclists should choose necessary cycling accessories to protect themselves when commuting to work, such as a helmet, lights and suitable clothing. These accessories can not only keep the cyclist visible, but can also help keep them safe should they be knocked off their bike or become involved in a collision. At ALA, we also offer Cycle Accessory Insurance alongside our commuter cycling policies to give you extra peace of mind should your equipment be damaged or stolen.
Cyclists should also leave their bike in a secure location, locked to an immovable object. You should always aim to lock the bike on your workplace premises to keep it safe and prevent possible bicycle theft. We recommend using a Sold Secure approved lock for better protection, and to help keep any cycle insurance claim valid if your bike is stolen.
According to our 2023 survey, 44.5% of respondents believe that cyclists are not safe on the road, and 50.4% said that improvements could be made to improve cyclist safety. Although safety is paramount when cycling on busy roads to work, it helps knowing that you and your bike are protected should the worst happen. This is where cycle insurance comes in handy.
A Commuting Cycle Insurance policy with ALA will repair or replace your bike on a new-for-old or like-for-like basis depending on its age, no matter whether it is damaged or unsalvageable. Your bike will also be replaced if it is stolen, as long as all of the policy security requirements have been adhered to. If you travel for work and wish to take your bike with you, you will also be protected with our worldwide cover as standard for up to 30 days per trip.
Our cycle insurance policies also come with extra options that can be added to your standard policy, such as Cycle Accessory Insurance and Cycle Rescue if you are abroad. You can also add Public Liability Cover to your policy, which protects you should you injure someone else or damage someone’s property whilst commuting on your insured bike. You can also cover yourself with Personal Accident Cover and Legal Expenses Cover if you become involved in a legal dispute whilst out on your bike.
At ALA, we understand the worries and risks that can accompany commuting to work by cycling. Our policies provide extra piece of mind and protection should your bicycle fall victim to malicious or accidental damage, or is stolen, helping to ease an already stressful situation.