National Road Victim MonthDid you know that August is National Road Victim Month? Here’s some helpful advice from Carl Waring, a leading UK personal injury solicitor, on how to stay safe cycling the roads.

No one needs to be told our roads can be deadly, but there’s a lot we can do to make sure a simple bike ride doesn’t turn into an unfortunate accident

A woman called Bridget Driscoll had the grisly distinction of being the first person in Britain to be killed by a moving vehicle. It was 120 years ago this month, and the accident occurred in Crystal Palace in London. Fast-forward just over a century to 1997 and the nation was brought to its knees when one of its most beloved public figures also died on the road, albeit in the French capital. It was in August that Diana, Princess of Wales, lost her life in a car.

For these and many more reasons, August is now National Road Victim Month, a time when we remember those who may have died or been injured on the nation’s roads and perhaps to make ourselves more aware of what measures we can take to stay safe while travelling. It’s especially vital during peak travel times, such as now, when families all over the country are making their summer getaways by car or campervan.

It’s astounding to think that globally, around 3,287 people die on roads every day and many more are injured. The figure is expected to amount to more than 1.2 million before 2016 is out, according to the World Health Organization.

Dealing with injury

The knock-on effects of any accident can be debilitating. In many cases of cyclist injury, ongoing medical treatments or rehabilitation may be required; there may be a substantial loss of income to a family if the victim has to take an extended period off work, and some might not be able to return to work at all.

Lucky is not a word to describe anyone in such a distressing situation, but some cyclists who are injured find their medical needs are looked after when they’re able to make personal injury claims that succeed. That way they’re compensated for the harm done to them and have enough cash to keep their family’s heads above water.

Staying safe

If you’re out and about on your bike this August — a great way to experience summer in the UK and great exercise too — follow the government’s safety advice and come home in one piece. The Transport Department’s THINK! road-safety campaign advises cyclists to always signal what you’re about to do, so that vehicle drivers aren’t caught unaware, and to try to make eye contact with oncoming drivers, so that you’re clear they’ve seen you.

Some of the advice may seem obvious, but often it’s forgotten when you’re out cycling. There are many simple things you can do — such as keeping well clear of the kerb and allowing plenty of space between you and parked vehicles as you’re passing. Equally, lights on bikes are not just for dark, but dusk too. Even during daylight hours it can turn dim in our country. If it clouds over, turn on your lights to make sure your presence is visible.

Other basic, but highly effective measures for staying safe while biking, include investing in reflective clothing such as jackets or strips and wearing a helmet that properly fits your head. And remember, you’re on the road, so obey the Highway Code and all traffic signs. Cycling is one of the best outdoor activities there is. Some essential safety planning will help ensure you enjoy it all the more.

Author bio

Carl Waring is a senior solicitor with Mayiclaim, and has over 25 years of experience in compensation claims and legal disputes.

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