CTC says rate of deaths among cyclists not falling quickly enough as DfT releases casualty stats

Cycling much safer than it was two decades ago, but more needs to be done to improve rider safety says national body

by Simon_MacMichael   June 30, 2011  

Broken bike (CC licensed image by garryknight, www.flickr.com)

The number of cyclists killed on Britain's roads rose in 2010 after declining in each of the previous four years, according to latest casualty statistics published today by the Department for Transport. While there was also a rise in the rate of fatalities per billion kilometres travelled, the long-term trend according to an analysis of the data by CTC shows that cycling is still much safer than it was 20 years ago, but the national cyclists' organisation insists that the rate of casualties is not coming down quickly enough.

CTC Campaigns Director Roger Geffen commented: “Despite months of ice and snow in 2010, cycling is still growing. However, casualties remain high, and there are many areas where Britain is falling farther behind our European counterparts in providing for cycling We still have only a tiny fraction of our residential streets covered by 20mph while hostile roads, bad driving, and weak law enforcement remain serious barriers to getting more people cycling.”

Total distance ridden in 2010 was 5 billion kilometres and registered a slight increase over the preceding year to reach its highest level since 1991. In London alone, there was a 15 per cent increase in levels of cycling during 2010, outpacing cycling injuries in the capital which rose by 9% over the previous year.

The latest road casualty statistics from the Department for Transport can be found here.

Year   kms cycled (billion)  Deaths   Deaths per billion km  

1990          5.3             256             48.3 
1991          5.2             242             46.8 
1992          4.7             204             43.1 
1993          4.0             186             46.4 
1994          4.0             172             42.8 
1995          4.1             213             51.4 
1996          4.1             203             49.8 
1997          4.1             183             44.8 
1998          4.0             158             40.0 
1999          4.1             172             42.2 
2000          4.2             127             30.5 
2001          4.2             138             32.6 
2002          4.4             130             29.4 
2003          4.5             114             25.3 
2004          4.2             134             31.8 
2005          4.4             148             33.4 
2006          4.6             146             31.7 
2007          4.2             136             32.4 
2008          4.7             115             24.5 
2009          5.0             104             20.8 
2010          5.0             111             22.2 

Source: CTC/Department for Transport 

 

12 user comments

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You can say that there is a long term trend towards a reduced number of deaths per distance travelled by bike, but I think the numbers killed are too small to make statements about individual years relative to previous ones.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1330 posts]
30th June 2011 - 18:05

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And the error bars in the kms cycled are? Because that makes a difference. But we'll probably only know what the difference is in another 5 years when we have more data.

Yes things are better than 20 years ago. But we aren't cycling as much. Which is a shame.

posted by 0liver [76 posts]
30th June 2011 - 22:07

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Yeah - interesting to note that cycling has only just come close to the 1990 figure again - are we seeing the effect of economic boom-&-bust cycles at work here?

posted by mad_scot_rider [536 posts]
1st July 2011 - 8:48

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But... but... it's "safety in numbers". *splutter*.

Or could it be the safety of Dutch cyclists is more to do with the infrastructure than the sheer numbers?

Conscientious Objector in the War on Vulnerable Road Users

t1mmyb's picture

posted by t1mmyb [86 posts]
1st July 2011 - 9:03

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Two cyclists killed every week. I wonder how many cyclists' deaths would be prevented if drivers drove considerately. In the meantime… I just want more cycleways! Please. Thanks.

Katja Leyendecker
kleyendecker.co.uk
newcycling.org.uk

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posted by Katsdekker [12 posts]
1st July 2011 - 9:12

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Two cyclists killed every week. I wonder how many cyclists' deaths could be prevented by drivers driving more considerately. In the meantime… I just want more cycleways - more safe space for cyclists! How else do we get Britain cycling? Please. Thanks.

Katja Leyendecker
kleyendecker.co.uk
newcycling.org.uk

Katsdekker's picture

posted by Katsdekker [12 posts]
1st July 2011 - 9:15

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I wonder how these stats compare with our european counterparts - France, Belgium and Holland for instance?

posted by wotno [2 posts]
1st July 2011 - 10:10

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Two cyclists every week.

Put another way, more cyclists killed in one year, more road deaths overall in a single month, than deaths from terrorism in the UK in the last decade.

We spend squillions on anti-terrorism, and our civil liberties are significantly eroded, by the "war against terorism". Funny therefore that we are not more robust in dealing with dangerous road behaviour.

How do our stats compare? The Netherlands certainly has proprtionately fewer cyclist or pedestrian deaths than we do. So does France, although interestingly their roads are rather more dangerous than ours if you are a motorist.

posted by Paul M [306 posts]
1st July 2011 - 13:32

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You need to be careful with these statistics. Even if nothing changed, you would still expect year to year fluctuations in the number killed. Statistically those natural fluctuations on a number of 104 is +/- 10.2 So a change from 104 to 111 is well within that natural variation and not statistically significant.

posted by Tony [66 posts]
2nd July 2011 - 8:49

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t1mmyb wrote:
But... but... it's "safety in numbers". *splutter*.

Or could it be the safety of Dutch cyclists is more to do with the infrastructure than the sheer numbers?

No, safety in numbers is more than adequate to explain the greater safety in the Netherlands and its a well established factor. The safety benefits of cycling infrastructure OTOH are disputed with most research finding they reduce safety.

What is missing to set this in context though is the fact that the risk to pedestrians is 50% higher than to cyclists (and that's despite pedestrians having a nationwide segregated network aka pavements)

posted by Tony [66 posts]
2nd July 2011 - 9:12

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Katsdekker wrote:
Two cyclists killed every week. I wonder how many cyclists' deaths would be prevented if drivers drove considerately.

Yes, stop telling us to stop getting ourselves killed and start telling people to stop killing us.

posted by Tony [66 posts]
2nd July 2011 - 9:18

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Road deaths, along with the thousands that die from stress-related and pollution-related illneses, are collateral damage in the pursuit of wealth or 'prosperity'.

It could be argued that civilian casualties in the wars we have initiated in Afghanistan and Iraq are the same. We have oil-hungry industries and weapons manufacturers to support. Jobs could be lost if we don't keep making bigger and nastier killing machines to sell to repressive regimes around the world - the Frogs or someone else might do it instead. It's about jobs and 'prosperity', you see.

(and if you work in manufacturing/selling weapons then you are the lowest of the low. You might as well plough your 4x4 into a flock of schoolchildren every day).

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1902 posts]
4th July 2011 - 15:56

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