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Will bells on bicycles help reduce cycling accidents, injuries and fatalities?

In a bid to reduce the number of cycling-related accidents, injuries and fatalities – in particular to pedestrians - a recently announced government overhaul of the UK’s laws regarding cycling safety may soon see the compulsory use of bells on all bicycles.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman, whose responsibilities include cycling issues, confirmed that a large scale review will be undertaken with a view to changing the current law to “require all bikes to be fitted with bells when in use”. Whilst current laws introduced in 1999 require all bicycles sold to be fitted with a bell, there is nothing stopping subsequent removal of the bell and there is no law requiring their use on the road, the Highway Code simply stating that cyclists “should be considerate of other road users, particularly blind an partially sighted pedestrians”

Numbers of injuries

Department of Transport figures from 2016 show that 427 UK pedestrians were hurt or injured following a collision with a bicycle, including 112 ‘serious’ injuries and three fatalities. Conservative MP Julian Lewis has claimed that pedestrians are under daily threat from “silent rogue cyclists” and that all bicycles should be fitted with some form of “warning device”.
The governments intentions have met opposition from campaign group Cycling UK, who have serious concerns that use of a bell in heavy traffic conditions could result in some loss of control, and that anecdotal evidence suggests that many pedestrians react in anger if a cyclist rings their bell at them in warning.

The new legislation, which also should help to reduce the levels of financial compensation awarded to pedestrians that have been injured, may also include with additional laws to include compulsory helmet use for all cyclists on UK roads.

If you've been injured whilst cycling are as a pedestrian and it wasn't your fault, contact one of our friendly team for further advice on 0800 977 4852 or via email here.

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