Study blames drivers for bike crashes
November 22, 2010 - 10:29AM
Nearly nine out of 10 accidents involving cyclists and cars in Australia are the fault of the motorist, new research has found.
The research also recommends introducing new road rules enforcing safe passing distances for cars.
Drivers were at fault in 87 per cent of incidents with cyclists and most did not realise they had behaved in a reckless or unsafe manner, according to the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and The Amy Gillett Foundation.
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The three-year study into cyclist safety on the roads used mounted video camera footage, as well as helmet-mounted cameras worn by cyclists, to determine the main causes of road accidents between cyclists and motorists.
Fifty-four events were recorded; including two collisions, six near-collisions and 46 other incidents.
The helmet camera study found that of the 54 incidents recorded, more than 88 per cent of cyclists travelled in a safe and legal way.
Conversely, drivers changing lanes and turning left without indicating or looking were the cause of more than 70 per cent of the incidents, Amy Gillett Foundation chief executive officer Tracey Gaudry said.
"We believe there is a strong argument to introduce a road rule that prescribes a safe passing distance (at least one metre), as well as further educating drivers that they need to indicate at least five seconds before changing lanes," she said.
The Amy Gillett Foundation is named after the 29-year-old Australian track cyclist who was killed in a training accident when a motorist crashed into a group of cyclists.
According to the foundation, bike sales in Australia have exceeded car sales for nearly a decade, with an average of 37 cyclists killed and more than 2,500 seriously injured annually and nationally.
Last week, Victoria Police cracked down on motorists and cyclists breaking the law in Melbourne's CBD, with seven cyclists killed on Victoria's roads, three more than this time last year.
© 2010 AAP
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