Overseas cycling accidents, standards & justice

johnboy183
johnboy183 Posts: 832
edited April 2014 in Road general
Clumsy title sorry. Just started thinking when reading some of the tragic stories of cyclists being involved in collisions with vehicles and its aftermath. On cycling forums it seems we often jump to conclusions about how the drivers are at fault, or read later that they were distracted etc and didn't see the cyclist and receive, in many of our eyes, insufficient punishment. Plus someone always talks about leaving more room when overtaking. So how is it overseas, especially with our European neighbours? Are driving standards that much higher? Is there "true" justice for offenders?

Comments

  • My understanding is that in a lot of European countries there is a principle of the driver being at fault. In addition a greater experience of riding helps. If everybody at some stage has ridden a bike to school, college, university, work then when you drive a car you will be a little bit more thoughtful.

    Also the work-life balance seems better in most of Europe.
  • herzog
    herzog Posts: 197
    johnboy183 wrote:
    ...So how is it overseas, especially with our European neighbours? Are driving standards that much higher?...

    Drivers over here (Switzerland) tend to be very considerate, giving lots of room when overtaking and generally being pretty patient. This is rather amazing as tailgaiting is a semi-national past time on the motorways. Cycling, for all ages, is very popular here and therefore it's much more likely the driver will know someone who cycles regularly - perhaps this then influences their driving style...

    I get a shock each time I return to England and "enjoy" the actions of British drivers.
  • Herzog wrote:
    johnboy183 wrote:
    ...So how is it overseas, especially with our European neighbours? Are driving standards that much higher?...

    Drivers over here (Switzerland) tend to be very considerate, giving lots of room when overtaking and generally being pretty patient. This is rather amazing as tailgaiting is a semi-national past time on the motorways. Cycling, for all ages, is very popular here and therefore it's much more likely the driver will know someone who cycles regularly - perhaps this then influences their driving style...

    I get a shock each time I return to England and "enjoy" the actions of British drivers.

    This is the same in Austria, where I spent most of my cycling career (wishful thinking haha). People seem to expect bikes and work with them with many people being cyclists themselves.

    The UK is rather unique in the impatience towards any hold ups on the road.
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,857
    Italian motorists are especially renowned for their patience.

    Actually, in both my limited experience of Italy, and my more extensive experience of SE France, motorists are often extremely impatient with each other, and though they don't begrudge in any way cyclists being on the road, they rarely wait behind. Instead, they overtake bikes with decentish room, but sometimes endangering vehicles coming the opposite way, leaving them inches to squeeze by at high speed. General accident rates are considerably higher in both France and Italy compared with the UK, but similarish on bike casualties, I think, which ties in with my perception.

    EDIT: interesting figures here: http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1258.html - Italy considerably worse than either France or UK (nearly three times as many deaths), if these figures are accurate.
  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,520
    i've ridden a fair bit in spain and portugal, drivers seem much more considerate in general, although there's always the chance of accident anywhere if someone is distracted or attention lapses

    often get a friendly toot from larger trucks to warn they're coming

    not sure why, but coach drivers seem the ones most likely to pass closer than i'd like
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,857
    sungod wrote:
    not sure why, but coach drivers seem the ones most likely to pass closer than i'd like
    Ditto France.
  • bernithebiker
    bernithebiker Posts: 4,148
    Here in Brittany, drivers are very slow and cautious and respect cyclists, and the roads are quiet, so no big deal really.

    Occasionally an OAP does pass a bit close 'cos they can't see so good, but I just shout at them a bit....
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467
    Drivers in Finland are a lot more patient too in general and give loads more room when passing. Are there any other countries where the drivers are as bad as in the UK around cyclists?? Even when I was in the States it seemed that drivers were more considerate. Admittedly that was in the SFO Bay area, so hardly representative...
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,857
    neeb wrote:
    Drivers in Finland are a lot more patient too in general and give loads more room when passing. Are there any other countries where the drivers are as bad as in the UK around cyclists?? Even when I was in the States it seemed that drivers were more considerate. Admittedly that was in the SFO Bay area, so hardly representative...
    If you take the casualty statistics though, as a blunt indicator, British drivers aren't as bad as sometimes portrayed. Some of them might be right arses, but not lethal arses, on the whole. Britain actually has one of the best records for overall road safety, if you take overall road deaths as the primary indicator.
  • papad
    papad Posts: 23
    neeb wrote:
    Drivers in Finland are a lot more patient too in general and give loads more room when passing. Are there any other countries where the drivers are as bad as in the UK around cyclists?? Even when I was in the States it seemed that drivers were more considerate. Admittedly that was in the SFO Bay area, so hardly representative...

    In Australia they are far worse than the uk. Beware every ute, commodore and falcon!
  • davidof
    davidof Posts: 3,036
    I cycle in Switzerland (Geneva), Savoies, Isere and Italy. (I live in Grenoble).

    Geneva: not great drivers, lots of use of the horn, a bit a aggressive - is this due to the non-Swiss drivers I wonder?
    Savoies: Generally bad drivers, their thing is to come up close behind you and then blast the horn. A member of the police told me that in their checks about 30% of drivers are over the drink drive limit in the Haute-Savoie. The Savoie is full of petty bourgeois in Quashquais who don't like being held up by inferior cyclists.
    Isere: a real sea change as you cross the border with a lot more respect and consideration. The exception being the Arab areas of Grenoble where there are a lot of very dangerous chavvy drivers hooning about either in large 4x4s (drug dealers) or Opel Corsas.
    Italy - Turin and Lakes. Drivers pass far too close for my liking but are otherwise considerate to cyclists.
    BASI Nordic Ski Instructor
    Instagramme
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,857
    ... which probably all goes to show that it's easy to generalise about a country, and to miss the big differences that can exist within each country. I suspect my view of British drivers would be different if I were commuting in or near London (for example) rather than in Devon.