Latest DfT statistics show return to longer-term trends following sharp year-on-year jump in opening quarter

The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads during the second quarter of 2011 was more or less unchanged from the levels seen in the comparable quarter of 2010, according to the latest reported road casualties released by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Some 850 cyclists were killed or seriously injured on the country’s roads between April and June this year, compared to 856 in the same months of 2010, a decline of 0.7 per cent.

Taking slight injuries into account, there was a 5 per cent increase in the total number of cyclists killed or injured, which stood at 5,330 during the second quarter of this year.

The second-quarter increase in total casualties is in line with an upward trend during those three months observed in recent years, reflecting in part the growing number of cyclists on the roads.

It also represents a return to the longer-term trend after a sharp spike in casualties among cyclists observed in the first three months of this year, when there was a jump of 26 per cent in the total numbered killed or injured, with incidents resulting in death or serious injuries soaring by 36 per cent.

Those figures were attributed at the time to the DfT by milder weather in the opening three months of 2011 compared to the severe winter 12 months earlier, meaning that this year fewer cyclists were deterred from riding their bikes from January to March.

The first-quarter figures also have the effect of skewing the annual totals once the data are analysed on a 12-month rolling basis; the year to June 2011 saw an 8 per cent rise in the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured compared to the preceding 12 months.

That comes at a time when casualty rates for all other classes of road users – car passengers, motorcyclists and pedestrians – all declined by, respectively, 7 per cent, 8 per cent and 2 per cent.

Earlier this year, national cyclists’ organisation CTC said that while it was clear that cycling is becoming safer – the rate of deaths per billion kilometres cycled has more than halved since the early to mid-1980s – more work needs to be done to improve the safety of cyclists on the roads.

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.