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Latest Transport for London figures show numbers of serious injuries falling, but minor injuries increasing

Following yesterday’s news about the Department for Transport national road casualty figures, the latest statistics for London show similar trends, with the number of deaths and serious injuries among cyclists falling – but an increase in minor injuries.

According to the latest Transport for London figures, in 2009 there were 13 cyclist fatalities in London, two down on the 2008 total of 15. This number seems relatively static – between 1994 and 1998 the average annual number of fatalities among cyclists was 14.8.

When it comes to serious injuries, the 420 in 2009 and 430 in 2008 compare relatively well with the annual average of 552 between 1994 and 1998.

But the number of cyclists sustaining minor injuries is on the rise, with 3,236 in 2009 compared to 2,757 in 2008 – although the annual average between 1994 and 1998 was 3,845.6.

These figures need to be considered in the context of the considerable rise in popularity of cycling there has been in London. TfL has quantified the increase in cycling at 117% on main (red route) roads from 2000 to 2010 – with most of this growth taking place since 2003.

A London Cycling Campaign spokesman said, “Changes in casualties definitely need to be related to cycling volumes. Cycling organisations have long argued that we need to be looking at casualty rates (taking into account mileage) rather than simply collision numbers.

“Data from the Netherlands and elsewhere, cited by CTC, suggests that there is a ‘safety in numbers’ effect with cycling and that as cycling grows the collision rates fall – the Netherlands and Denmark, where cycling levels are high, have much lower casualty rates than the UK.”

There are two other noteworthy statistics in the Transport for London figures. The first is the total numbers of casualties across all groups – drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, riders of motorbikes and scooters, and users of buses and all other vehicle types. Across all these categories, the numbers for all levels of injury are 27,979 for 2009, 28,153 for 2008 and an annual average of 45,681.2 between 1994 and 1998. This represents a fall of 39% between 1994-98 and 2009.

Another interesting figure comes from looking at the numbers of fatal and serious injuries sustained by pedestrians, drivers, cyclists and motorbike and scooter riders over the various comparison periods. In 2009 this figure was 3,227, in 2008 it was 3,526, and the annual average between 1994 and 1998 was 6,684, which is a fall of 52% from 1994-98 and 2009.

The Mayor for London has the following targets for reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on the capital’s roads.

  • a 50% reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured
  • a 50% reduction in the number of cyclists and pedestrians killed or seriously injured
  • a 40% reduction in the number of powered two wheeler users killed or seriously injured (unchanged)
  • a 60% reduction in the number of children killed or seriously injured
  • a 25% reduction in the slight casualty rate, expressed as the number of people slightly injured per 100 million vehicle kilometres

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine (www.simpsonmagazine.cc).