Bristol named as one of the UK’s most dangerous cities for cycling

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Bristol has been named as the ninth most dangerous city in the UK for cycling in a recent study.

Over 12,000 cycling routes around the country were examined, taking into account the number of accidents, steepness, lighting and surface quality. Each route and its area was given a ‘danger score’ and ranked accordingly.

Although Bristol is a city well-known for cycling, the report may not come as a surprise to many who have experience of cycling on its roads. However, the city also has a wide range of alternative routes for cyclists, including many cycle paths.

What is a cycle path?

A cycle path is usually a cycle route that is traffic-free and segregated from roads, making it safe for cyclists of all ages and abilities as well as pedestrians.

Cycle paths in Bristol and beyond provide people with a great way to exercise, travel and access beautiful sights in the city and surrounding countryside. They also play a key role in encouraging more sustainable travel as we move towards net-zero emissions.

The Bristol and Bath Railway Path is a well-known example of such a path. Celebrating its 40th birthday in 2019, it offers a 15-mile-long road-free stretch from central Bristol to central Bath along an old railway line and is popular with commuters and casual users alike.

Common accidents on cycle paths in Bristol and beyond

Cycle paths like the Bristol and Bath Railway Path are far safer than cycling on roads. However, there is still the chance of a cycling accident, or indeed an accident involving another path user. These include:

  1. Accidents caused by potholes on the path. Although there are ongoing works to fix sections of the Bristol to Bath Railway Path and make them more user-friendly, potholes and uneven surfaces still pose a problem. Cyclists can avoid pothole accidents by relaxing and sitting a little out of the saddle when riding over potholes, or by simply riding around the pothole providing they stay clear of other path users when doing so.
  2. Accidents involving other path users. The Bristol and Bath Railway Path is popular with lots of different groups of people, including families, dog-walkers, cyclists, and wheelchair users. Cyclists in particular should be careful of others, especially when cycling at speed. Users should be wary of others joining the path at junctions and stopping places and pay particular attention at narrower points or blind corners where it’s harder to see others approaching from the opposite direction. Sustrans is also trialling ‘left is best’ guidance on the Bristol to Bath Railway Path, which aims to improve the flow of traffic and make using the path simpler and safer.
  3. Accidents at night. If a cyclist chooses to follow a cycle path at night, they should ensure they have fully-charged lights on the front and back of their cycle (which is also a legal requirement), and wear reflective clothing. Pedestrians walking on cycle paths at night might also consider wearing reflective clothing or carrying a torch.

Specialist personal injury solicitor Tom Hartigan from Novum Law’s Salisbury has 20 years’ experience of helping those who have been involved in cycling accidents. He says:

“We’re very lucky in Britain to have such fantastic cycling infrastructure, which is usually a real pleasure to use. However, it’s still important for people using cycle paths to behave responsibly and be aware of the risks. It’s also important for those responsible for the maintenance of cycle paths, such as local councils, to keep the paths well-maintained and accessible for users.

 “While cycle paths are vastly safer than cycling on roads or even on cycle tracks adjacent to roads there are still risks, and accidents involving cyclists travelling at high or even moderate speeds can be dangerous to life. If you or a loved one has been involved in a cycling accident that wasn’t your fault, it’s important to speak to a personal injury lawyer who specialises in cycling accident compensation claims so you can get the support and rehabilitation you need.”

Novum Law’s team of personal injury lawyers are experts in helping those affected by cycling accidents secure compensation on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis. For a free, no obligation chat, call our Freephone on 0800 884 0777, email us at or complete our online enquiry form.

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