Research exposes cycling risks

A university study has revealed that cycling in England is more hazardous than car travel, with cyclists at high risk during particular times of year.

The report by the University of Surrey, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), found that for every 100 injuries a year to car occupants, there are at least 68 injuries to cyclists and pedestrians.

The evidence was compounded by the fact that cyclists made fewer journeys overall than motorists, making the likelihood of being involved in an accident higher.

Hospital admissions of road traffic injuries in England between 1999 and 2004 were studied in the report which found that admissions of adult cyclists were highest in June at a third above average and lowest in December at more than a quarter below average, although injuries were reported to be more serious in the winter months.

Hospital admissions for car drivers and passengers proved highest during the winter months, although seasonal variation was not as pronounced as it was for other forms of transport.

The report's authors reiterated the environmental and health benefits of cycling but conceded that these advantages can come at a cost, adding: "In some circumstances, when people feel that it is unsafe to cycle or walk, they may be right."

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