If you're male and you ride, beware
October 2, 2006
MALE cyclists aged 30 to 39 are at high risk of being killed or injured in collisions with motor vehicles on weekdays from 4pm to 6pm.
Nine out of 10 collisions happen on a straight stretch of road with the vehicle hitting the bike by turning or parking. Eighty per cent of crash victims were men.
The facts are contained in a landmark study, jointly funded by Monash University Accident Research Centre and the Amy Gillett Foundation, which analysed 13,900 bicycle-vehicle crashes between 2000 and 2004.
The foundation — set up to honour cyclist Amy Gillett who was killed by a car in Germany — aims to foster harmony between cyclists and motorists.
The foundation will this week announce a $100,000, three-year scholarship, jointly funded by the Monash centre, for a PhD student to conduct in-depth research into bicycle-motor vehicle crashes.
The centre's director, Professor Ian Johnston, said the study had been done because of a paucity of previous bicycle safety data.
"What people normally do is simply say, this is the number of deaths and the number of injured is this. But what we tried to do is see if we could tease out what are the different types of crashes, what are the circumstances," he said. Much more needed to be done, Professor Johnston said.
He said there was also an uncounted toll. "One of the things that is very striking about bicycle safety is that unless there is a motor vehicle involved, we know very little about all of the crashes," he said.
Foundation general manager Melinda Jacobsen said: "We need to know more about the circumstances under which cars and bicycles collide in order to prevent a further rise in the road toll.
"So far this year, 11 Victorian cyclists have been killed on Victoria's roads — more than double the toll for the same period last year."