The most dangerous manoeuvre for people riding bikes on British roads is turning right, a new study has found, with 10,070 collisions involving cyclists making a right turn reported between 2012 and 2021.
The analysis, conducted by Forbes Advisor, was based on data compiled from the Department for Transport’s 2021 report on road casualties in Great Britain during the previous decade, in order to determine which manoeuvres resulted in the most collisions for each type of vehicle.
After turning right, moving off resulted in the second greatest number of collisions for cyclists, with 4,911 recorded between 2012 and 2021, while going ahead on a right-hand bend came third, with 4,643 noted collisions out of a total of 179,737 during that ten-year spell.
Those familiar with road.cc’s Near Miss of the Day series will not be surprised to learn that, compared to other vehicle types, cyclists were disproportionately involved in collisions when going ahead while not on a bend, with people on bikes subject to collisions on a straight road over 55 percent more than the average road user.
When assessing other modes of transport, turning right also proved hazardous for car drivers, with 186,009 incidents recorded between 2012 and 2021. Car drivers slowing or stopping also accounted for 130,709 collisions, and being held up while waiting to go led to 112,755 crashes.
Meanwhile, overtaking a moving vehicle resulted in 14,323 collisions involving motorcyclists, while HGV drivers were involved in 3,714 collisions while slowing and stopping. HGV drivers also experienced collisions almost six times more than the average road user when changing lanes, accounting for 585.6 percent of the average when changing lanes to the left, and 533.4 percent when changing lanes to the right.
This most recent analysis comes less than two months after a similar survey of road safety figures in Scotland found that motorists are at fault in nearly three-quarters of all collisions between cyclists and drivers, while common tropes about ‘dangerous’ cyclists, such as riders “wearing dark clothing”, are responsible for comparatively few crashes.
The data, collated by Cycling Scotland, showed that 54 cyclists were killed and a further 1,836 seriously injured in road collisions throughout Scotland between 2015 and 2021.
Analysing the “contributory factors” assigned by Police Scotland to all collisions, Cycling Scotland found that over 70 percent of crashes involving motorists and cyclists were the fault of the driver.
For both drivers and cyclists, the most common cause of a collision is a failure to look (a factor seemingly ignored in Forbes Advisor’s analysis, perhaps because it does not constitute a ‘manoeuvre’ as such) – though of the 512 “failure to look” incidents, 374 were assigned to the motorist.
“Aggressive driving” and “vehicle door opened or closed negligently” were also in the top 10 reasons for collisions, Cycling Scotland found.
However, in the incidents where the cyclist was deemed to be at fault, “wearing dark clothing at night” was assigned to only 19 collisions between 2015 and 2021, the ninth most common cause of crashes where the cyclist was at fault.
Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.