Cyclist deaths - 1950s


Cyclist deaths - 1950s

Postby TSiS » 6 Oct 2004, 9:47pm

Following from a section in the last newsnet issue, I visited the site for the DoT road casualties report for 2003. Also on the site was an historical set of stats' going back to 1950. What on earth was going on back then ? The number of cars on the roads must have been a fraction of today, but the numbers of cyclists killed was several times more than in 2003.

Pedalling Pete

Re:Cyclist deaths - 1950s

Postby Pedalling Pete » 6 Oct 2004, 11:06pm

The majority of folk actually used bikes daily, to get to school (I did), to get to work, to get to the shops or cinema, and of course to meet your friends just to go far a ride. Otherwise we used the bus. Cars were for the rich or for "commercial travellers" if I recall. Petrol was rationed post war, and also during the Suez crisis, so not much point having car anyway. Given that the roads were filled with bikes, inevitably there would be more collisions involving motor vehicles. The other aspect was that those who had cars would happily drink and drive. There was no breathalyser, only the local bobby to ask you to hold out your arms and walk along a white line at the station. Given that car owners were "pillars of society", and bike riders tended to be from the "lower ranks", it was not surprising there were few convictions. I remember a drunken Rolls driver killing several scouts cycling in an orderly group; in court he pleaded guilty, stating he would never drive again. It was treated simply as an accident, and no custodial sentence was imposed. So overall there was little incentive to ensure safe driving. Besides many behind the wheel at that time had never been required to pass a driving test, some never having had a lesson from a professional instructor. Finally the post war cars had quite appalling lighting, very poor brakes, no tyre tread standards, there was no MOT, and bodging was a way of life for motorists as well as for bikies!


Re:Cyclist deaths - 1950s

Postby Bert » 24 Oct 2004, 2:40pm

Interesting. There may be a good many MORE cyclists now than there were then although perhaps not true coming away from the works in the evening.
In 1955 I rode the A21 ? from Purley to Caterham as an eight year old and it was rather dangerous even then.

I gave up A roads in Sussex further out of the concentric arrangement of busyness in 1981.

I have given up the A roads in Dorset; in fact I have never used them as they are too busy. That is since 84. The B roads round here are a little too risky to use frequently.
the Bs' in Dorset are as busy as the As' were 20 years ago. The Bs' only had 80 or 90 vehicles per day on them in 1962. Today they have about 4000.

For B Road in Dorset 2002 read A road in Dorset 1959.

I would not allow a child of 8 to use a B road at any time if I had the care of one today.

I still meet racing cyclists who cycle the main roads from say Bristol to Bournemouth in the morning and go back in the evening, and could only do so with the flat and cambered roads provided for fast vehicles.
Dangerous? Nooooooooo!


Re:Cyclist deaths - 1950s

Postby troywinters » 4 Jan 2005, 6:32pm

"There may be a good many MORE cyclists now than there were then "
not likely my son, in the good old days a lot of people from the lower to middle classes cycled for recreation, did you know there was a vegetarian cycling club for instance. now as the more active da members will admit the number of regular sunday cyclists has reduced, even in my 20 years I've seen numbers fall, and mileage. as for work time well owning a car is cheaper now and its easier than facing rush hour on a bike in the rain and wind and all those maniacs who have gone from pram to car without passing through the pedal cycle stage. still as that great sage Seige said ' society gets what it deserves' as more car drivers on the road beetle around without any knowledge of cycling or even walking then enevitably our cycling days are numbered. the only sign of hope for the future I have seen in the last year has been the increase in cycle trailers been used, some for shopping and some for little people, despite the impossibilty of getting a large one round the obstacle course known as the cycle path.


Re:Cyclist deaths - 1950s

Postby gar » 22 May 2005, 9:30am

If you knew my mother you would not call me "my

Bikes are fortunately found in very different places these days, not on the roads;

I stick to "far more"



Re:Cyclist deaths - 1950s

Postby gar » 29 May 2005, 5:15am

Bernie's definition of cycling is an unusual one.
It must refer to "CTC cyclists are cyclists but
no others are"
Sunday cycling round here is phenomenal.
We have special routes and everything and off road
They bring their bikes on the back of expensive
cars and 4x4s from posh city suburbs.
The summer has to be seen to be believed; just everybody cycling.

In Bernie's day it was big gangs of cyclists going down to Brighton in troops of 40 or 50. They did not have cars. They were "cyclists". Ah Well!