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Barts and the London charity says not enough use being made of data to help prevent collisions

A charity associated with the Royal London Hospital, where hundreds of seriously injured cyclists have been treated in recent years, is looking for donors to help fund a database of cycling casualties that it says can help reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured while riding their bikes.

Barts and the London Charity says that while advances in surgical treatments are helping save lives, analysis of information regarding collisions involving bike riders is key to improving cycle safety.

Research reported in the London Evening Standard shows that since 2004, the Royal London hospital's trauma team has treated 708 cyclists admitted with serious injuries following road traffic collisions, all but 40 of whom survived.

However, the charity says it needs donors to help fund its proposed database, which it believes can cut cyclist casualties, and it also says that the idea of using data to prevent collisions isn't receiving enough attention at the moment.

The database would cost £130,000 to develop and would be accompanied by a smartphone app that would enable victims to provide details of their recovery from their injuries.

The Standard's Ross Lydall says that data captured would include "whether the crash involved a HGV, car or pedestrian, the personal details of the cyclist, what happened before the collision, and if helmet and high-visibility clothing were worn."

Together with other information such as the location of the incident, that could allow patterns to be identified, as well as hotspots being mapped.

According to Barts Charity: “There is evidence that reduction in mortality is due to improvements in trauma and emergency care at major trauma centres such as the Royal London hospital, rather than effective pre-collision interventions.”

Barts Charity hosted a seminar at the end of January, chaired by broadcaster Jon Snow, who is also president of national cyclists' organisation CTC, which addressed the question: "Can advances in medicine and research at Barts Health impact the number of killed or seriously injured people from cycling incidents?"

One of the speakers was the Barts Health NHS Trust's professor of public health, Allyson Pollock, who said: “We have pretty good data on mortality through the police reports. What we don’t have is good data on injuries — the mechanism, location and cause of injury.

“That would help us identify injury hotspots and where we need to make an intervention, and monitor whether an intervention works. At the moment, we are working in the dark on injury prevention.”

Changes in NHS accident emergency provision in the capital in recent years and the development of its major trauma unit has seen the Royal London become the busiest hospital for such cases in the capital, with a 2009 study finding it had twice the number of admissions as the next biggest, King's College Hospital.

That's reflected in the growth in the number of cyclists admitted there with serious injuries - 24 in 2004, but 117 last year.

The vast majority of patients admitted to the Royal London's trauma unit are taken there by the London Ambulance Service or London’s Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, which is based there, but some also arrive from outside the capital, including in the Essex & Herts or Kent & Surrey air ambulances.

Despite the growth of cycling in London in recent years, according to Transport for London data, the average number of cyclists killed each year on the city's streets over the past decade is 13, down from 16 in the ten years to 2003.

However, the number of people seriously injured has been climbing steadily, almost doubling from 332 in 2004 to 657 in 2012, the last year for which data are available.

Green Party politician Baroness Jones has regularly questioned Mayor of London Boris Johnson and TfL over cycle safety, and has said that her own analysis of data relating to casualties and the level of cycling in London proves that contrary to claims that cycling is getting safer in London, the opposite is the case.

She told road.cc yesterday: "Road Safety campaigners have always known that to understand road danger, you have to count the injured as well as the dead. It's time that Boris admitted he has made London's roads less safe and began to reverse the trend. London needs more cyclists, not fewer."

Barts Charity has set up a @cycleinnovation Twitter feed where you can find more information about its proposals.

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

33 comments

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racyrich [305 posts] 3 years ago
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What a load of rubbish. The overwhelming majority of riders who are knocked off don't go to hospital at all.
Yet the set of circumstances leading to a serious injury or a slight one, or sucessfully swerving and avoiding one at all, can be identical. A proper analysis of what causes collisions and resultant injuries would have to record all the non- and slight- injury incidents. That's just not going to happen.

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sfichele [140 posts] 3 years ago
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Would this help? We already have an extensive system of documenting bad infrastructure and bad drivers - it's called youtube. And thus far very little has been done to address the problems being reported...

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Paul_C [523 posts] 3 years ago
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I had a close call this afternoon... a lorry (HGV) overtook me and came back into the lane while his rear wheels were still alongside me... I had to hit my brakes hard to avoid being knocked off... bet that won't feature in the stats because I was awake enough to take avoiding action...

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kie7077 [932 posts] 3 years ago
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Paul_C wrote:

I had a close call this afternoon... a lorry (HGV) overtook me and came back into the lane while his rear wheels were still alongside me... I had to hit my brakes hard to avoid being knocked off... bet that won't feature in the stats because I was awake enough to take avoiding action...

Had a similar one, 2 large lanes, me on the right turning right but a cab had stopped and was taking up half my lane, this wasn't a problem until a fking bus started drifting into my lane (277), I had to slam my brakes on to be safe.

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kie7077 [932 posts] 3 years ago
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Anyway, I fully support the collection of crash data, I think having read a lot of statistics and reports on the subject has affected my riding style.

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kie7077 [932 posts] 3 years ago
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Perhaps every new bike sold should come with a 'How to stay safe' guide for cyclists that concentrates on collision avoidance rather than pretending a helmet makes a big difference.

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Ush [1014 posts] 3 years ago
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More data is a good idea.

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levermonkey [682 posts] 3 years ago
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There are already websites out there listing KSI incidents. Instead of a brand new website duplicating data and then adding a few bells & whistles why doesn't Bart's and London Charity look to collaborating with one of these?

Also. Why cycling specific? Why not include pedestrians as their injuries are often similar if not identical? Is it a money thing? Is it because cycling in London is 'dangerous' and walking in London is so 'safe'? And yes I'm being facetious!

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arowland [171 posts] 3 years ago
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Paul_C wrote:

I had a close call this afternoon... a lorry (HGV) overtook me and came back into the lane while his rear wheels were still alongside me... I had to hit my brakes hard to avoid being knocked off... bet that won't feature in the stats because I was awake enough to take avoiding action...

We need 'near miss' reporting like there is for pilots. However, if self-reporting is allowed, how can we ensure the data are accurate?

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mrmo [2096 posts] 3 years ago
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kie7077 wrote:

Perhaps every new bike sold should come with a 'How to stay safe' guide for cyclists that concentrates on collision avoidance rather than pretending a helmet makes a big difference.

Maybe we could ask all purchasers of cars to do a test, just to make sure they know how to behave around pedestrians, horses and cyclists? We could give all the drivers a little plastic card and if they misbehave we could take it off them? We could call it a licence..

oh...

We already do that, well i never

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Neil753 [447 posts] 3 years ago
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I do hope that funding is achieved for this database because, if the wearing of hi-viz clothing is indeed to be recorded, it might help people to understand that the wearing of dark clothing places cyclists at considerably greater risk when riding in urban environments.

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ChairRDRF [366 posts] 3 years ago
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As a long term researcher and transport professional I generally welcome new data.

However, this is looking at types of injury AFTER COLLISIONS - it is not looking at the source of danger. As a number of commenters have said, it doesn't look at the near hits, the places where there is excessive danger (e.g. large gyratories) where there are few collisions because potential cyclists are put off from cycling there. Nor does it look at danger which is a problem for cyclists but which may be manifested in injured pedestrians.

I wrote at length about this in the transport professionals fortnightly Local Transport Today recently here: http://rdrf.org.uk/2013/11/15/if-we-want-safer-roads-for-cycling-we-have...

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Neil753 [447 posts] 3 years ago
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kie7077 wrote:
Paul_C wrote:

I had a close call this afternoon... a lorry (HGV) overtook me and came back into the lane while his rear wheels were still alongside me... I had to hit my brakes hard to avoid being knocked off... bet that won't feature in the stats because I was awake enough to take avoiding action...

Had a similar one, 2 large lanes, me on the right turning right but a cab had stopped and was taking up half my lane, this wasn't a problem until a fking bus started drifting into my lane (277), I had to slam my brakes on to be safe.

These things do happen, and hgv drivers aren't perfect, but, as an hgv driver myself, this is my advice.

Quite often, hgv drivers don't realise just how fast some cyclists can ride, so if you are being overtaken on an urban street, scrub off some of that speed and drop back, to reduce the possibilty of conflict.

Secondly, if an hgv driver is straddling two lanes, it is likely that this has been done to facilitate a turn, and recognising this situation and holding back, however tempting it may be to "shoot through", could save your life.

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Leviathan [2861 posts] 3 years ago
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Paul_C wrote:

I had a close call this afternoon... a lorry (HGV) overtook me and came back into the lane while his rear wheels were still alongside me... I had to hit my brakes hard to avoid being knocked off... bet that won't feature in the stats because I was awake enough to take avoiding action...

Do you think this was Neil753? He seem know a lot about it, perhaps he was brake testing you.

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blinddrew [45 posts] 3 years ago
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ChairRDRF wrote:

However, this is looking at types of injury AFTER COLLISIONS - it is not looking at the source of danger. As a number of commenters have said, it doesn't look at the near hits, the places where there is excessive danger (e.g. large gyratories) where there are few collisions because potential cyclists are put off from cycling there. Nor does it look at danger which is a problem for cyclists but which may be manifested in injured pedestrians.

But they are talking about capturing location data? That would then allow you to find out where the real hot-spots are (and if they're the same as the anecdotal ones) and then do some detailed on-the-spot analysis at these critical sites.
More data is good but we could be smarter about the data we have.

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antigee [451 posts] 3 years ago
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its additional data but there could be some danger that it could mean that the road authorities would use the data to deny cycle friendly road improvements as not being warranted by the accident data - this is what used to (and to some extent still does) happen with low ksi data being used to maintain high speed limits on main roads in urban environments - ignoring the fact that injury rates will be low when people's perception of a road is such that it is too dangerous to cross/the footway too narrow to walk with more than one child/ the lanes too narrow to safely cycle - so it is safe in terms of accident data but dislocates local communities and maintains the car as the favoured means of transport and contributes nothing to developing an environment in which walking or cycling are the norm for short journeys

used to live in Sheffield and now in Melbourne Aus and in both these cities active cyclist groups regularly input to road authorities on local blackspots and more importantly opportunities to change infrastructure to encourage more cycle use

problem isn't lack of data its lack of political will

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blinddrew [45 posts] 3 years ago
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antigee wrote:

problem isn't lack of data its lack of political will

true dat.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 3 years ago
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bikeboy76 wrote:
Paul_C wrote:

I had a close call this afternoon... a lorry (HGV) overtook me and came back into the lane while his rear wheels were still alongside me... I had to hit my brakes hard to avoid being knocked off... bet that won't feature in the stats because I was awake enough to take avoiding action...

Do you think this was Neil753? He seem know a lot about it, perhaps he was brake testing you.

Bikeboy, I'm surprised at your little quip (arguably slightly more silly than your other "one liners"), since you appear to have commented on more of my safety related posts than anyone else on this forum.

However, out of courtesy, I will put your mind at rest.

No, it wasn't me. Being a cyclist myself I appreciate that other cyclists can move around town at surprising speed, so I tend to hold back and give them space. But I know that not all hgv drivers are that attentive and cyclists simply won't know which type of lorry driver they're "racing". Regardless of the rules of the road, once a lorry is committed to overtaking, it's best to back off and live to tell the tail with your mates.

I'm pleased that you seem to have such an avid interest in my posts, and I have no doubt that your enhanced understanding of hgv related issues makes you an example that other cyclists can follow.

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movingtarget [144 posts] 3 years ago
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ChairRDRF wrote:

However, this is looking at types of injury AFTER COLLISIONS - it is not looking at the source of danger. As a number of commenters have said, it doesn't look at the near hits, the places where there is excessive danger (e.g. large gyratories) where there are few collisions because potential cyclists are put off from cycling there. Nor does it look at danger which is a problem for cyclists but which may be manifested in injured pedestrians.

In Portland we have an online form where we can contact the city's department of transportation with concerns we have about specific intersections/traffic areas. There's an intersection near my house where there are stops signs for the north/south street while the east/west street has none. Drivers (and bicyclists) often go straight through the intersection going N/S without stopping to see if there's E/W traffic including pedestrians going E/W or they assume it's a 4-way stop and E/W has stop signs too. I've seen many near misses and nearly been struck while crossing E/W. I filled out the online form recommending that they put up a sign below the stop signs stating "Cross Traffic Does Not Stop." Someone from the city came out and physically looked at the intersection as well as looked up accident accounts for that intersection (this would only be ones that were either called in to police or car insurance companies). They didn't place the sign but they did at least cut back the greenery around the stop signs to make them more visible and sent me a detailed email response that the sign was unnecessary as they were few accidents logged there. True or false, the more data/reports they get filed about the intersection, the more likely they will be to act upon it if only for litigation/liability concerns. Does London DfT have something similar for people to report near misses which could help them keep track of how hairy some traffic areas are? In the same vein, the Barts' biking app could act in the same manner, logging info about near misses at the same spots where they have trauma patients thus increasing the level of need for intervention at that traffic spot.

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userfriendly [617 posts] 3 years ago
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kie7077 wrote:

Perhaps every new bike sold should come with a 'How to stay safe' guide for cyclists that concentrates on collision avoidance rather than pretending a helmet makes a big difference.

Actually not such a bad idea (despite mrmo's facetious if hilarious comment), it would only cost a few pennies. Most newbies don't have anyone telling them they're not supposed to hug the kerb, for example. They've probably never heard about secondary and primary position, either.

arowland wrote:

We need 'near miss' reporting like there is for pilots. However, if self-reporting is allowed, how can we ensure the data are accurate?

Doesn't need to be 100% accurate. Allowing to spot trends would be accurate enough.

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Pete B [23 posts] 3 years ago
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kie7077 wrote:

Perhaps every new bike sold should come with a 'How to stay safe' guide for cyclists that concentrates on collision avoidance rather than pretending a helmet makes a big difference.

I agree and have thought for a while that every bike sold should come with a copy of “Cyclecraft by John Franklin”. I’m sure a lot of people on here will have read it and will agree that any cyclist who hasn’t read the book or done “bikeability training” really should read it. For those that haven’t, it goes into detail on road positioning ect for just about every road situation cyclist’s face. It also includes things like “immediate collision avoidance techniques”. Plus it covers a whole host of other useful stuff, for example riding in different adverse weather conditions (including something that is quite topical at the moment; the low sun). The cost of the book on Amazon is £12.50, I personally think it is worth every penny!

Back to the topic of the news article, if you Google “UK cycle accident map” you’ll be able to go to a map that shows the location and basic details such of time, weather etc, of fatal, serious injury and most of the minor injury cycling incidents in the UK since I think it is 2009. So the data is already being collated, I’m sure the professionals (police , highways people ect ) already have their own more detailed version where they look for trends / accident black spots ect. I’m maybe being a bit cynical but surely it is the job of a hospital to use their skills to treat the people that have sadly been injured on the roads and leave it to the people that have (supposedly) the skills in their own field(s) to make the roads safer.

I do think is a very good point that rather than just collecting data on collisions, it would be useful for near misses to be recorded. To that end I have noticed that on the “Road Justice” website there is a facility to report “bad driving” incidents.

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CanAmSteve [257 posts] 3 years ago
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Every time there is any sort of injury accident, the police close the road for hours while they "conduct their investigation and collect evidence".

How difficult would it be to have a checklist of the required data identified above? It could be an A4 sheet of paper (ideally an app on a tablet) and would cost almost nothing.

What exactly are the doing if they can't even record such basic information?

And let's be honest - plenty of cyclists are injured due to no one else's fault, so any accident/injury data is already skewed

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kie7077 [932 posts] 3 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:
bikeboy76 wrote:
Paul_C wrote:

I had a close call this afternoon... a lorry (HGV) overtook me and came back into the lane while his rear wheels were still alongside me... I had to hit my brakes hard to avoid being knocked off... bet that won't feature in the stats because I was awake enough to take avoiding action...

Do you think this was Neil753? He seem know a lot about it, perhaps he was brake testing you.

Bikeboy, I'm surprised at your little quip (arguably slightly more silly than your other "one liners"), since you appear to have commented on more of my safety related posts than anyone else on this forum.

However, out of courtesy, I will put your mind at rest.

No, it wasn't me. Being a cyclist myself I appreciate that other cyclists can move around town at surprising speed, so I tend to hold back and give them space. But I know that not all hgv drivers are that attentive and cyclists simply won't know which type of lorry driver they're "racing". Regardless of the rules of the road, once a lorry is committed to overtaking, it's best to back off and live to tell the tail with your mates.

I'm pleased that you seem to have such an avid interest in my posts, and I have no doubt that your enhanced understanding of hgv related issues makes you an example that other cyclists can follow.

Actually Neil I found your post to be patronising, I was in a lane to turn right, the bus was in a lane to go forward and yet the bus after passing me started to drift in to my lane even though it was not turning anywhere - this endangered my life and it was in no way my fault but you somehow found reason to advise me on my cycling regardless.

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jacknorell [983 posts] 3 years ago
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mrmo wrote:
kie7077 wrote:

Perhaps every new bike sold should come with a 'How to stay safe' guide for cyclists that concentrates on collision avoidance rather than pretending a helmet makes a big difference.

Maybe we could ask all purchasers of cars to do a test, just to make sure they know how to behave around pedestrians, horses and cyclists? We could give all the drivers a little plastic card and if they misbehave we could take it off them? We could call it a licence..

oh...

We already do that, well i never

I've rarely heard of that little card being taken away when the holder proves they're not capable to behave properly. Maybe we should try it sometime?

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Leviathan [2861 posts] 3 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:

Blaa, blaa, blaa.

kie7077 wrote:

Actually Neil I found your post to be patronising, I was in a lane to turn right, the bus was in a lane to go forward and yet the bus after passing me started to drift in to my lane even though it was not turning anywhere - this endangered my life and it was in no way my fault but you somehow found reason to advise me on my cycling regardless.

Neil, if I am incited to post it is because your posts continue to contain pernicious victim blaming. As Kie says above you are patronising. The fact that you can make over 300 hundred posts in just a couple of months almost exclusively on the the subjects of HGVs and HiViz shows that you have an obsession. You regularly preface you comments with 'As a cyclist' before blaming the victim of an incident rather than admitting that motorist's poor behaviour is nearly always the cause of the incident. When I see 'As a cyclist' I read 'I am not a racist, But...'
I won't forget it was YOU that claimed injured cyclists were taking money from children's cancer research. The disgusting subtext in all your comments is regularly lambasted but many posters, but you don't seem to notice. If you don't want people to reply perhaps you should diversify your interests.

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congokid [324 posts] 3 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:

if the wearing of hi-viz clothing is indeed to be recorded, it might help people to understand that the wearing of dark clothing places cyclists at considerably greater risk when riding in urban environments.

Why bother doing the research when you already seem to know the answer?

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felixcat [486 posts] 3 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:

the wearing of dark clothing places cyclists at considerably greater risk when riding in urban environments.

Or not, as the case may be.

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arfa [855 posts] 3 years ago
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In general terms more data is better than less but what are they going to do with it ?
A 10 second google comes up with this http://www.cycleinjury.co.uk/map
Lots of data but not much use if no one acts on it.
The trouble is no one is accountable and until this changes nothing else will follow. Take an example, the coroner in the recent superhighway death inquests has been highly critical of them. Can anyone tell me if anyone has been held to account ? I am not aware of anyone getting so much as a reprimand for pissing millions of taxpayers money up the wall on some blue paint.
Another example, I have contacted TfL several times about one particular junction highlighting the dangers in its current structure and I have received acknowledgement of them - nothing has changed and there have been several more accidents there - anyone at TfL accountable ? They can't say they weren't aware....

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A V Lowe [619 posts] 3 years ago
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We might ask TfL if they are actually delivering on their statutory duty (RTA 1988 s.39) by investigating road crashes, and taking action to prevent repeat events from the same causes.

Given the 3 deaths in 2 years from essentially the same causes at Bow, and 2 deaths in 5 years at Vernon Place/Southampton Row also through same causes, there would appear to be a clear case that they are failing to comply with the law. Not that most other roads authorities deliver this either. Some, along with their local Police forces fail to deliver crash reporting for STATS 19 data as laid out in the STATS 20 instruction manual - often ignoring cyclist single vehicle crashes.

On the rail network it is unusual to actually have a passenger killed in any one year, and every serious incident is investigated with a PUBLISHED report from an independent investigating body, which makes recommendations to prevent a repeat event. All we have of toad is a rather weak Prevention of Future Deaths report that the coroner can issue, but no great pressure to act timeously to eliminate the hazards, or control the level of risk.

Publication of the reports might also show the lack of competence of some of the investigators and evidence collection that informs them. At a recent inquest the Police officer reporting on the fatal crash was asked why no Class 6 mirror (required by law) was visible in the photographs of the truck "What is a Class 6 mirror?" was his response.

With this and other examples of Police ignorance of key legal details relating to safety and cycling, a publication of the Police reports might see a tightening up on competence of investigators, and the data on which they can draw.

So a couple of local challenges to those reading this far. First ask your local roads authority what Section 39 reports have been completed per RTA 1988 over the past 10 years, and whether they might publish these on their website. Second why not check on recent STATS 19 reports and see how this aligns with known cycle crashes, and if known, A&E attendance by cyclists.

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skippy [416 posts] 3 years ago
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WHILST most Law Enforcement Personnel take the attitude

“you cyclists take your lives into your own hands”.

NO amount of Stats will change this WOEFUL ATTITUDE !

This story says it ALL , wherever YOU Cycle in the World , comment posted in :

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vision-ZERO-Worldwide/540123632761709

" ANIMAL by the name of Axel Inostroza ( 27yo drunk?) with a COWARD PASS , worse than that , he carried the LIVING VICTIM out of the Car and tossed him into the scrub near his house and left Craig Camlin to Die :

http://www.wsvn.com/story/24666967/family-of-cyclist-left-for-dead-speak...

Camlin, who does not have insurance, has nearly a $1 million hospital bill and his family is reaching out to the public for help. "There's a wonderful organization, helphopelive.org, which is a non-profit organization that just helps patients and families," said his sister.

For those who want to help, they can visit the following website:

www.helphopelive.org.

WHY does Craig's Family have to PAY for the actions of an UNFEELING ANIMAL who deserves LIFE without payroll ?
Photos can be found on the link !

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