THE BLOG
08/09/2015 09:15 BST | Updated 08/09/2016 06:12 BST

The Near Miss Project Shows Cyclists Are In Peril - Cycling Must Get Safer

I've just spent the first part of my afternoon reading the absolutely fascinating Near Miss Project report on cycling in the UK which has just been released.

Anybody who knows me knows cycling is a huge part of my life. Like road users of all types (drivers, cyclists and pedestrians - I'm all three) I've been watching the growing sense of aggression on the streets.

A couple of weeks ago one of our reporters, Steven Hopkins, wrote a wonderfully insightful piece on the head cameras some cyclists wear. For me that piece highlighted that growing conflict between people doing something they love and people going about their everyday life. The net result is that the roads increasingly feel like a place of impatience and danger.

Throw in the mix the numerous deaths which have been reported this year and you've got a huge narrative developing that cycling is totally unsafe.

The Near Miss Project was launched in an attempt to better understand the impact that near misses have on cyclists and what can be done to minimise them. It gives a special insight for both cyclists and drivers about what is really going on with the roads.

I've pulled out some of the statistics I found remarkable.

1. Cycling speed is the main factor affecting near miss rates: those who reach their destination at an average speed of under 8 mph have around three times more near misses per mile compared to those who get there at 12 mph or faster. Women, who on average cycle more slowly, have higher near miss rates than men.

2. Near misses are an everyday experience for cyclists in the UK. Rates are similar for people living inside and outside London; they are higher during the morning peak.

3. Over half, suggested cyclists, could have been prevented by improvements to the road condition, layout, or route infrastructure. In particular, this meant separation from motorised traffic, followed by better repairs and maintenance to routes or infrastructure used by cyclists.

4. It would take 8,000 years before a regular UK commuting cyclist would experience an accident which resulted in death

5. The average UK commuter cyclist can experience up to 60 'very scary' incidents annually.

There's a load of other interesting findings from the report which was presented by Chris Boardman and Rachel Aldred, from the University of Westminster, to representatives from government, transport, lobbying groups and the media.

The aim it seems is simple: To improve the experiences that cyclists currently have and encouraging more people to get on a bike.

That's a cause I think we should all get behind. The Near Miss Project was supported by Blaze