A survey of over 350 cyclists by Pedalite International Ltd, at the UK’s National Cycle Show, Cycle 2007, Earls Court last month has revealed that the number one fear for cyclists is motorists driving too close to them.

Sixty-one per cent of respondents complained that cars and lorries came too near, causing them to wobble or throwing them off balance completely.

Over half of respondents were worried that they would not be seen in the winter evenings by motorists (51%) and 21% felt that there was a lack of cycle lanes to ensure their safety, despite the fact that many more cycle lanes have been created over the past few years in major UK towns and cities.

Forty-eight per cent of cyclists questioned stated they felt unsafe on the roads, with a third stating they felt quite safe and just 19% feeling very safe and confident.

With an 83% rise in the number of cyclists on the roads in the past 7 years in London alone, according to Transport for London, it is little wonder that 9% of respondents also admitted that they felt nervous cycling with so many others on the road at the same time.

On a positive note, cyclists are taking major precautions to ensure they are as safe as possible on the roads: 94% of all respondents wear cycling helmets whatever distance they are cycling, 42% wear fluorescent clothing to increase their visibility and 24% even carry additional batteries for their lights in case they run out. This is just as well as 30% of respondents admitted that their lights had run out in the past leaving them stranded without lighting.

Former World and European Track cyclist, Tony Doyle MBE, an ardent safety campaigner and an ambassador for Pedalite International Ltd, says, “Cycling has never been more popular, with thousands of people ditching cars and public transport for the financial, environmental and health benefits that cycling affords. However, our research clearly shows that many motorists are driving too close to cyclists making them feel insecure and in some cases, causing them to lose their balance. Whilst cyclists need to ensure they are as visible as possible on the roads, motorists need to look out for them and when they do spot them, ensure they give them as wide a berth as possible”.

“It is reassuring that so many cyclists have a highly responsible attitude towards safety, with the overwhelming majority wearing helmets and protective clothing. However, there are additional factors such as regular bike safety checks, checking tyres are fully pumped up, carrying additional lighting and having a reliable battery-free, always-on 360 degree visibility lighting source such as Pedalite pedals, which will greatly improve on the road safety this winter.”

“Pedalite Pedals enable cyclists to be seen from any angle by motorists from up to 1km away. They shine a light 360 degrees to define the cyclist, as opposed to reflectors and reflective material that relies on a third party shining a light on the cyclist. Additionally, as the pedal lights define the width of a bicycle they create a virtual cycle lane. Consequently, motorists tend to give these cyclists a wider berth, which also helps reduce accident risk”, concluded Doyle.

Pedalites are unique patented pedal lights for bikes which are powered by harvesting the energy in the pedal spindle and start flashing as soon as the cyclist starts pedalling. The pedals amplify and store the rotational energy, enabling the lights to stay on for up to 5 minutes after the pedalling stops, for example, when the cyclist is freewheeling or more importantly waiting at a road junction.

Pedalites retail at £34.99, they can be purchased at good bicycle retailers throughout the UK or online together with a specialised toe clip (£6.99), see the link below, and at all good cycle accessory retail outlets including Evans, Leisure Lake Bikes and Action Bikes.