Major rise in cycling deaths and injuries

Spike too in pedestrian, motorbike casualties

by Mark Appleton   August 8, 2011  

DfT casualty statistics.JPG

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.”

 

18 user comments

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This is Safety in Numbers, yes? Thinking

Conscientious Objector in the War on Vulnerable Road Users

t1mmyb's picture

posted by t1mmyb [87 posts]
8th August 2011 - 9:28

7 Likes

ah, this is total nonsense unless you take into account the increase in cyclists. The numbers of pedestrians and car users will have stayed fairly constant, where as there are many more cyclists, so there will be an increase in injuries. If you scale the number of injuries against the number of cyclists per year you might get some useful data.

Try plotting a normalised graph of injuries/no. of cyclists against years and see what happens.

rrrrrrrrr.

posted by kaptnkrunch [57 posts]
8th August 2011 - 10:12

7 Likes

But, on the plus side, that terrible "War on Motorists" the previous government was waging is over...

posted by handlebarcam [530 posts]
8th August 2011 - 10:20

5 Likes

With more SUVs and more airbagged cars it would not be surprising to see fewer car deaths and more motorcycle/cycle/pedestrian deaths.

posted by zoxed [63 posts]
8th August 2011 - 10:57

4 Likes

Bike (motorcycle) mag posited in the late 70's that rather than seat belts (and now airbags) a better way of improving road safety would be to have steering wheels fitted with a number of 6" knives. While facetious there is a grain of truth in the idea. Instead of your car protecting you if/when you drive inconsideratly it actively punishes poor driving. And obviously punishes you for having a true accident. The point is that the more and more that people are cocooned in their cars the easier it is to become complacent about ones driving.

And di you proof read this at all?

"So while the total number of people killed or injured on Britain’s roads fell, the number killed or seriously injured rose by 5%"?

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [396 posts]
8th August 2011 - 12:01

6 Likes

Unlike me who obviously didn't!

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [396 posts]
8th August 2011 - 12:03

6 Likes

killed or injured is a pretty broad category isnt it? Is there no figures on death / serious injury / minor injury?

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [877 posts]
8th August 2011 - 12:06

7 Likes

So, frustrated at the continued drive to encourage them to share the road space, Britain's drivers have decided simply to kill those who infringe on what they consider to be their domain.

posted by automatic_jon [68 posts]
8th August 2011 - 12:28

6 Likes

automatic_jon wrote:
So, frustrated at the continued drive to encourage them to share the road space, Britain's drivers have decided simply to kill those who infringe on what they consider to be their domain.

what drive are you referring to? I haven't seen any evidence of public information or education aimed at educating road users.

It would be good to see some adverts educating ALL road users about their responsibilities and putting the road tax myth to bed.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [877 posts]
8th August 2011 - 12:38

6 Likes

BikeAndy61: "So while the total number of people killed or injured on Britain’s roads fell, the number killed or seriously injured rose by 5%"?

Number of killed/injured (however slightly) fell; but just looking at the number killed or *seriously* injured there was a 5% rise.

Joemmo: "killed or injured is a pretty broad category isnt it? Is there no figures on death / serious injury / minor injury?"

Paragraph 2 gives killed/all injured; paragraph 3 gives just killed/seriously injured. DfT quarterly stats don't go into any further detail unfortunately.

Kaptnkrunch: "ah, this is total nonsense unless you take into account the increase in cyclists. The numbers of pedestrians and car users will have stayed fairly constant"

Yes, point re more cyclists is made in penultimate paagraph. And there's been a slight decline (0.7%) in all traffic over the past year.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8388 posts]
8th August 2011 - 12:38

9 Likes

Simon - so were you actually trying to say that serious injury rose by 5%? Number of killed/(Any) injured declined slightly while number killed/seriously injured rose by 5%. So the second part surely should have simply said but serious injury rose by >5%. It just didn't scan well IMHO.

Sory to be a pedant.

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [396 posts]
8th August 2011 - 14:41

7 Likes

Steady on, folks.

Wasn't there an apparent increase in cyclist KSI for Q1 in the previous year (accompanied by some flapping)? Yet when annual figures published the figures still dropped. Or am I remembering it wrongly?

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2029 posts]
8th August 2011 - 15:02

4 Likes

bikeandy61 - well, first, I didn't write the article.

Second, the DfT give two figures in the quarterly stats - one for killed/injured (any), the other for killed/ seriously injured (KSI). So those are the two sets of figures we have to work with.

Without the number of fatalities being reported separately, we have no way of knowing whether that has gone up or down.

Bear in mind though that with the latest full-year stats showing 111 cyclist killed in 2011, we are probably talking about well under 1% of the last quarter's KSI total being fatalities.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8388 posts]
8th August 2011 - 15:14

6 Likes

A link to the DfT press release with figures is in the article now (we didn't have it when compiling the story from a bunch of raw data). We did ask DfT for the number of cyclists killed in the Q1 period but they have not, so far, responded.

So the three sets of figures currently available are for killed and seriously injured; all casualties, ie killed, seriously, lightly injured; and lightly injured. Hope this helps.

posted by Mark Appleton [554 posts]
8th August 2011 - 22:13

8 Likes

Cycling is probably safer than it has ever been, but during 2009-10, 15,940 cyclists were admitted in an emergency to a hospital bed, (see http://www.hesonline.nhs.uk/Ease/servlet/ContentServer?siteID=1937&categ...). This does not include people treated in Emergency Departments who were not admitted to a hospital bed.

The police collision database(STATS19) that provides the statistics reported is known to underestimate incidents involving single vehicles. The interesting fact is that 10,812 admissions resulted from cyclists involved in "non-collision incidents".

What causes non-collision incidents? The survey into non-collision incidents is posted here http://www.betterbybike.info/non-collision-incidents please take a look.

You may find our initial findings surprising. http://www.avon.nhs.uk/phnet/Avonsafe/Cycling%20Injuries/Cycling%20Injur...

NHS Bristol and our partners do all we can to promote cycling and make cycling safer. The majority of non-collision injuries are not serious.

Injury Prevention Manager
NHS Bristol

posted by Rob Benington [16 posts]
11th August 2011 - 10:40

6 Likes

Dear Injury Prevention Manager - can we have your views on compulsory cycle helmet wearing? It would be very interesting to know what they are. Thank you kindly

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [291 posts]
11th August 2011 - 12:14

5 Likes

Collision incidents may be a small % of the overall total but are they not much more likely to result in serious injury or death?

posted by paulfg42 [378 posts]
11th August 2011 - 12:33

7 Likes

Hi

Yes I believe collision injuries are more lilely to result in death than non-collision injuries, but emergency admission to a hopsital bed is, by both our and the polices definition, a serious injury. We need to work to reduce injuries from both collisions and non-collisions. Most effort has been put into collisions to date; I'm interested in finding out more about and raising awareness of non-collision injuries.

Is there a different thread on this site for the cycle helmet debate?

Injury Prevention Manager
NHS Bristol

posted by Rob Benington [16 posts]
11th August 2011 - 13:22

7 Likes