There has been a significant rise in the number of cyclists being killed or injured on Britain’s road, the latest figures from the Department for Transport demonstrate.
In the first quarter (Q1) of this year the total number of cyclists killed or injured jumped by 26% from 2961 in 2010 to 3730.
The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured rose 36% from 447 to 610 while those slightly injured rose by 24% from 2514 to 3120.
The rising number of cycling deaths and injuries comes against a background of falling casualties on British roads with the overall number of casualties down by 1% this quarter compared to the same period in 2010.
However, in addition to a rise in the number of cyclists killed or injured, first quarter casualties for pedestrians (4%) and motorcyclists (16%) also rose, while those for car users (-7) fell.
So while the total number of people killed or injured on Britain’s roads fell, the number killed or seriously injured rose by 5% to 5510.
Quarterly statistics for road casualties should always be treated with a degree of caution as factors such as the weather can skew the figures. The first quarter of 2010 saw more severe weather than the same period this year. The increasing number of cyclists on the roads, in part due to record high fuel prices, will also have an impact on the number of casualties.
Britain’s overall population too has reached a record high. The estimated resident population of the UK was 62,262,000 in mid-2010, up by 470,000 on the previous year.
The CTC said earlier this summer that while cycling is safer now than it was two decades ago, the casualty figures are not coming down as quickly as they should.
As for the latest DfT statistics, a spokesman for the CTC added: “While acknowledging the increase in cycling casualties which we feel reflects an overall increase in cycling, it is important to bear in mind that these figures reflect the severe first quarter weather conditions in 2010 and the mild conditions this year.
“However, we do feel the Government and local authorities could be doing more to improve cycling safety and we are worried about the current lack of cash available to make improvements to infrastructure which would help cyclists, such as 20mph zones, and to spend of cycling safety initiatives generally.”