Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

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TheJollyJimLad
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Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby TheJollyJimLad » 9 Oct 2009, 1:41pm

Dearest All

Sorry if this has been posted already but a work colleague has sent me a link and thought it might be of interest.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8296971.stm

fimm
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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby fimm » 9 Oct 2009, 2:21pm

There's a very sobering diagram of the blind spots on a lorry in that article.
Of course it's a race...

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Yorkshireman
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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby Yorkshireman » 9 Oct 2009, 2:39pm

Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?


Only in London it would seem (according to the 'media').
Lincoln has its share of large vehicles/traffic light controlled junctions/cyclists (both sexes), but whilst there are (fatal) collisions reported between cyclists and varying types of juggernaught like vehicles, I don't see the same sort of figures as reported in London.
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meic
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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby meic » 9 Oct 2009, 3:14pm

The question should be

"are RLJs in less danger than law abiding riders?"
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Alan D
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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby Alan D » 9 Oct 2009, 6:49pm

Yes, a most interesting article. On my own, I cycle confidently and use the road assertively. I try to blend in with motor traffic as well as my muscle power will enable. However, when I cycle with my girlfriend it is a different story. She is not a confident cyclist and demonstrates traits typical of the respondants to this article. She openly admits that she is frightened of the traffic and so hugs the kerb. To try and offer a measure of protection, I will normally cycle 5 - 10ft behind and offset to the right by about 18inches, although I wonder if this puts her at greater risk from anyone that does attempt to overtake and then cuts in early? Thoughts anyone? Roundabouts and right turns are an absolute nightmare! On the approach I will pull in front to claim the space and thus allow her to advance. In many respects, there is a lot in common with riding with children.
So I think it's the lack of confidence that causes the cyclist to take the more dangerous option.

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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby eileithyia » 9 Oct 2009, 7:58pm

I thought this had been discussed last year when these statistics were first published.
Personally I think it is inexperienced people who do not understand how traffic functions, especially at juctions, and so get themselves positioned badly, hugging the kerb or getting on the inside of large vehicles. For non-drivers I think it is difficult for them to appreciate that vehicles have blind spots.
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DaveP
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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby DaveP » 9 Oct 2009, 8:14pm

Womens spatial abilities are generally less well developed than mens. I wonder if that could be a factor? Woman cyclist stops at traffic light. LGV stop alongside. Woman fails to appreciate that she is in blind spot and has difficulty estimating where the back axle is likely to go when truck turns.
But I dont know if we have ever been presented with step by step accounts of how these fatalities occured and without that sort of detail we are only speculating. Has the detail ever been compiled?

Another question arising from a first reading is this:
7 out of 8 bike-truck fatalities in London were women, which seems disproportionate when only 28% of cyclist are women. But thats a national figure! What proportion of London cyclist are women?
I dont suppose for one minute that there is an answer here, but that sort of careless use of statistics should always be questioned.
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cjchambers
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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby cjchambers » 9 Oct 2009, 8:14pm

IMO, it's not 'being a woman' which encourages people to ride on the left side of lorries at traffic lights, it's the feeder lanes painted specificially for the purpose. Maybe women are more likely to use them because of their supposed lack of assertiveness, but still . . .

Generally, though, I just don't know why we're expected to dodge around and accomodate HGVs in their current state. I'm sick of hearing bleating about blind spots. Blind spots?! What sort of a pathetic idea is that in 2009, when it's possible to fit video cameras covering 360° around a vehicle? :|


Alan D wrote:I wonder if this puts her at greater risk from anyone that does attempt to overtake and then cuts in early? Thoughts anyone?

The opposite can be worse - I often ride with a less assertively riding friend. If I ride in front, what happens is that a vehicle will overtake him quite easily, get to me, have a slightly harder time and pull back in. Fine if you're well spaced, but sometimes (especially uphill) it's hard to keep a constant gap. If the overtaking vehicle is still next to the rear rider and unaware that the rider is still there, pulling in could result in a fatal accident. My friend was once pinned against a row of parked cars by a small lorry doing exactly what I described above but luckily there was enough space for him to brake hard and remove himself from the danger zone. Had I realised with was happening I would have pulled over to let the lorry past - I still feel a bit guilty about it but it's just one of those things I suppose.

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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby jan19 » 9 Oct 2009, 9:27pm

This topic has caused a bit of conversation between myself (female cyclist) and himself (obviously male cyclist) .

In a traffic queue, I wait quietly behind the cars. I don't undertake unless I have loads of room, I know the sequence of the lights or the traffic is very wide.I use ASLs when they are to my advantage - I have 2 very good ones on both journeys, to and from work. I am very very aware of the statistics showing the number of female cyclists in London crushed by HGVs - I cycle in London and I have no intention of adding to those stats. As I said on a previous post I've amended my route into work to avoid the biggest concentration of HGVs.

Malcolm just rides round the traffic queue on the outside.

In four years of cycling I've yet to get enough confidence to do that, but I do consider myself a careful and competent rider and I think I'm aware of potential hazards (cars turning left in front of me being the worst). The problem with the stats is that we ladies are so few on the ground - if I see one other female cyclist in 10 that's a good day.

I really really wish I could get the authors of this type of report to ride with me into work and see that with a bit of thought and a little experience we ladies can ride perfectly safely. I'd love to see more women on my ride to work - I see (and nod to) one other, but usually she's the only one I see although I might see 20 or more men.

Jan

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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby glueman » 10 Oct 2009, 9:43am

This reinforces my instincts and observation that not everyone is up to the demands of cycling on the road in heavy traffic. To do well it's physically demanding, requires a good deal of psychology and applied technique.
Passive riders and those who aren't adaptable to changing scenarios are vulnerable. I know it's an unpopular opinion but regular urban riders are at the very top of a particular food chain and some people are just safer cycling off the highway whatever average stats tell us.

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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby paulah » 10 Oct 2009, 10:24am

I wonder if this is anything to do with having less driving experience? When I started cycling to work I found I was actually far more traffic aware and able to judge what motorists were going to do than when I used to cycle regularly, the difference being that I have now been driving for several years.

Women drive on average 8000 miles a year, men do 12,000. But that's just averages - every bus or train I go on has mostly female passengers so many are hardly driving at all.
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paulah
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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby paulah » 10 Oct 2009, 10:33am

Alan D wrote:. She openly admits that she is frightened of the traffic and so hugs the kerb. To try and offer a measure of protection, I will normally cycle 5 - 10ft behind and offset to the right by about 18inches, although I wonder if this puts her at greater risk from anyone that does attempt to overtake and then cuts in early? Thoughts anyone?


The biggest risk to a cyclist from motorists is a driver pulling out of a side road in front of them. The highway code illustrates the field of vision of a driver waiting a side road and this clearly shows that the further out from the kerb someone is, the sooner they'll be seen.

The second biggest risk is a driver cutting in too soon when overtaking.

I always cringe when I see parents cycling behind their children.
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frank9755
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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby frank9755 » 10 Oct 2009, 11:41am

Agree with most of the above comments which accord with what I see on my London commute.

I have some sympathy with Glueman's point, but the question is, can those who don't have the skills to cycle safely in traffic not be trained to enable them to do so? I think Paulah's point - about driving experience helping - may have some truth in it - learning to drive provides some road skill training which is partly transferable to cycling. Obviously cycling training would probably be even better!

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richardyorkshire
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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby richardyorkshire » 10 Oct 2009, 6:46pm

Is it that women are more in danger than men? Or is it that inexperienced cyclists are more in danger than experienced cyclists?

In a country where more men cycle than women, there would be a rough correlation between being female and lacking cycling experience. But you shouldn't, from that, draw the conclusion that women are more at risk. It is inexperienced cyclists that are more at risk. If you go around repeating the erroneous conclusion that being female puts you at risk when cycling, then you just put women off cycling. And you fail to address the core problem: inexperience.
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Re: Are Women Cyclists in More Danger Than Men?

Postby Big T » 11 Oct 2009, 10:25pm

Alan D wrote:Yes, a most interesting article. On my own, I cycle confidently and use the road assertively. I try to blend in with motor traffic as well as my muscle power will enable. However, when I cycle with my girlfriend it is a different story. She is not a confident cyclist and demonstrates traits typical of the respondants to this article. She openly admits that she is frightened of the traffic and so hugs the kerb. To try and offer a measure of protection, I will normally cycle 5 - 10ft behind and offset to the right by about 18inches, although I wonder if this puts her at greater risk from anyone that does attempt to overtake and then cuts in early? Thoughts anyone? Roundabouts and right turns are an absolute nightmare! On the approach I will pull in front to claim the space and thus allow her to advance. In many respects, there is a lot in common with riding with children.
So I think it's the lack of confidence that causes the cyclist to take the more dangerous option.


I sometimes cycle behind my wife but only about 18 inches behind her, and also about a foot to her right. That way, we have to be overtaken as one unit and there's not much chance someone overtaking me and cutting in on her. She's actually quite good a sitting on a wheel and will follow in my wheeltracks, if I lead, again at a distance of about 18 inches.
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