‘Dazzling sun’ contributes to four-fold increase in cycling deaths in 2020

Cycling UK appeals to drivers to take care and be aware of risk caused by lower sun following clocks going back
  • As clocks go back, Cycling UK warns drivers to slow down and be aware of risk caused by lower sun
  • 17 cyclists and 11 motorcyclists died with “dazzling sun” a contributory factor in 2020, up from four cyclists and six motorcyclists in 2019

As the clocks go back this Sunday 31 October, Cycling UK is urging people to take care when driving at times when the sun is lower in the sky in the early morning or late afternoon.

According to road casualty statistics, 17 people cycling died in 2020 following a collision with a motor vehicle where “dazzling sun” was a contributory factor. This is more than double the amount of fatalities for the previous two years put together.

Similarly, fatalities for motorcyclists increased to 11, up from six and four in 2019 and 2018 respectively.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said:

“A four-fold increase in deaths with a contributory factor of ‘dazzling sun’ is alarming and could be avoided by driving more carefully. Cycling UK would encourage anyone dazzled by the sun to drop your speed, and where appropriate and safe to do so, stop until they have clear visibility of the road again.

“The last thing anyone wants to do is to cause another person’s death due to being dazzled. Please take appropriate precautions, and keep you and others safe in doing so.”

Cycling UK is also asking drivers to consider:

  • give as much room as practically possible when overtaking (at least a car’s width) due to need of cyclists to manoeuvre around drains, potholes and other road debris;
  • give more in wet weather when surfaces will be more slippery; and
  • use dipped headlights when approaching people cycling as they would for other road users

The law states it is illegal to cycle on a public road between sunset and sunrise without lights and reflectors, as defined by the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations – the current version of which was published in 1989 and most recently amended in 2009.

Cycling UK says cyclists, like all road users, should behave responsibly and within the law and should ensure that they have reflectors and working lights while cycling at night.

Cyclists must have white front and red rear lights lit at night – flashing lights are now permitted. They must have their cycle fitted with a red rear reflector, and amber pedal reflectors if it was manufactured after 1 October 1985.

Over the autumn Cycling UK is offering new joiners of the charity a free set of Lezyne Femto Drive lights worth £25. This is in addition to the charity’s usual member benefits of £10m third-party insurance, up to £50 off bike insurance and access to their free legal advice helpline.

Notes to editors

  1. Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often. www.cyclinguk.org
  2. For more information on the road casualty figures in Great Britain see table RAS50007 “Contributory factors for casualties in accidents by severity”: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/reported-road-accidents-vehicles-and-casualties-tables-for-great-britain#contributory-factors-for-reported-road-accidents-ras50

Press contact information

For more information, please contact the national Cycling UK press office. Due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, currently the main press office number (01483 238 315) is not being monitored. If you would like to speak to a member of the press office during working hours (0900 - 1700) please email publicity@cyclinguk.org. Out of hours, call 07786 320 713