When someone buys a car, it is natural to choose something that will protect them and their family — and something comfortable. Yet, doing so may increase the risk those vehicles pose to cyclists, pedestrians and other lesser-sized road users.
The bigger a vehicle, the more it weighs, so the more harm it will do to any cyclist it hits. Despite this obvious logic, more and more drivers are choosing to buy bigger cars.
Why are SUVs increasing in popularity?
Cycling is cheap, healthy, good for the environment and poses a limited risk to other road users. Driving an SUV around the city is the polar opposite. Yet, SUV sales continue to rise. Why is this?
While every driver chooses what vehicle to buy, car manufacturers have a massive influence on their decision. They are the ones putting oversized vehicles at the forefront of their advertising. They are the ones persuading you that an SUV will turn you into an explorer or help you keep your family safe. If car companies wanted to persuade people to buy cars that guzzled less gas and did less harm, they could. Yet, selling SUVs is good for business. Companies can charge more for a bigger vehicle full of features. Tire makers can charge more for bigger tires, and petrol companies can sell more when people driver higher-consuming cars.
The government could make the roads safer for cyclists if it wanted
Vehicle manufacturers need to operate within the rules the government sets. If the authorities wished to steer people toward cars less likely to kill cyclists or pedestrians, they could. Local authorities also have options to improve cycling safety in their area.
If someone in an oversized vehicle knocks you from your bicycle, they might claim it was an accident. However, a whole series of decisions made it more likely the crash would happen and that you would suffer severe injuries needing significant compensation.