Cyclist casualty stats for each constituency in England, Scotland and Wales revealed ahead of Commons debate

Release of data coincides with UK Ccycling Alliance producing briefing note so MPs can focus on relevant issues

by Simon_MacMichael   February 23, 2012  

Palace of Westminster (Ollios, Wikimedia Commons)

Ahead of today’s parliamentary adjournment debate on cycling, which is due to start at 2.30pm and can be watched online here, MPs have been sent a briefing paper compiled by the House of Commons Library which shows cyclist casualty figures for each of the 632 constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales. The UK Cycling Alliance, whose members include The Bicycle Association, British Cycling, Cyclenation, CTC, LCC and Sustrans, has also prepared a briefing note for MPs to help them focus on the relevant issues.

The Commons Library note, a copy of which is attached at the end of this article, provides a summary of statistics, focusing in particular on reported road casualty figures, and it is the data regarding the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in each constituency that are perhaps most interesting. The relevant table, covering the period 2005-10, starts at page 10.

Clearly there are far too many variables involved to draw any meaningful comparisons between individual constituencies  - population, topography, traffic levels, and of course the levels of cycling and provision of infrastructure all vary greatly – but they do at least allow you to see what trends are in the area you live or work in, or other places where you cycle regularly.

The UK Cycling Alliance briefing note, meanwhile, was circulated to MPs on Monday and the full text, taken from the London Cycling Campaign website, is shown below.

UK Cycling Alliance Briefing Note

Cycling has a fantastic range of benefits: for our health, for our streets, for our economy, our environment, and our wallets. During the last decade, cycle use in Britain grew by 20% (and by more than 100% in some cities), while cyclists’ casualties fell by 17%. More and safer cycling can, and should, go hand in hand. Yet despite this, improvements in safety for Britain’s cyclists have not kept up with that of other road users, and lags well behind that of neighbouring countries with much higher cycle use.

Quite rightly, there is now a high-profile campaign calling for cycle safety to be improved in Britain. This briefing note offers headline information on the key issues which impact on the future of cycling in Britain and includes links to further information on the vital next steps.

The key issues

A. Commitment to cycling


Cycling is booming in Britain and said to be worth £3 billion to the economy. But while between £10 and £20 per head of population is spent annually on cycling in the Netherlands, the equivalent average figure for Britain is £1.
Following the national government’s successful funding of the Cycling City and Towns programme 2005-2011, which spent at least £10 per head of population annually - national government and local authorities should secure commitments to match this level of funding. 


B. Encouragement of cycling


Smarter Travel Choices. National Government and local authorities must commit to supporting safe and active travel within a wider programme of ‘smarter choices’ investment. By committing to this policy direction, we are more likely to see a joined-up package of measures.

C. Slower speeds


In residential and built up areas. There are significant road safety benefits with a 20 mph speed limit. National government must commit to supporting, encouraging and funding local authorities to follow many of their peers and make the change to 20mph.

D. Improved provision for cycling


to include a commitment to reviewing major roads and junctions, prioritising dedicated space for cyclists where speed limits are not already 20mph and ensuring quality infrastructure which ensures safe reintroduction of cyclists to the highway where relevant. 



E. Strategic and joined-up programme of road user training

to include better information, provision and training for all road user types including cyclists from an early age. 



F. focus on HGVs


Heavy lorries are associated with a high risk of death or very serious injury to cyclists. Despite being just 6% of road traffic, lorries are involved in around 20% of all cyclists’ fatalities. Government policies must ensure a commitment to the roll-out of a comprehensive package of measures to reduce the risk of HGVs to cyclists. 



G. Improved road traffic law and enforcement 


Traffic law must do more to protect the most vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians, children and older people. In addition, traffic policing teams much be given more resource to ensure that existing laws can be enforced more effectively and sentencing must be appropriate when drivers cause harm. 



H. Improved data

The information that records how many people are cycling is very poor at the national level and inconsistent at the local level. This makes it difficult to monitor what is happening and which interventions have greatest impact.

Why do we need more cycling?

Cycling has a wide range of benefits for our own health, our streets and neighborhoods, the economy and the environment: 


Health benefits 
    


Cycling in mid-adulthood typically gives the fitness of a person 10 years younger, and a life expectancy 2 years above the average. People who do not commute regularly by cycle have a 39% higher mortality rate than those who do. Thanks to these extra life-years, the health benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks involved. 

Physical inactivity is estimated to cost the UK economy £8.2 billion a year, while obesity represents a further economic cost of around £3.5 billion.

Economic benefits

Cycling makes extremely efficient and economical use of road-space. One lane of a typical road can accommodate 2,000 cars per hour – or 14,000 cycles. 

Encouraging cycling also makes workers more productive and reduces the costs of absenteeism.

Climate and other environmental benefits

A person making the average daily commute of 4 miles each way would save half a tonne of carbon dioxide per year if they switched from driving to cycling. 

If we doubled cycle use by switching from cars, this would reduce Britain’s total greenhouse emissions by 0.6 million tonnes, almost as much as switching all London-to-Scotland air travel to rail.

Why do we need safer cycling?

A depressingly high proportion of short trips are made by car, 23% under a mile, 33% 1 – 2 miles, and 79% 2 – 5 miles. Many people in Britain would like to choose the bike as an alternative way to travel but often feel put off by a fear of traffic. As well as perceived risks which prevent take-up of cycling, there are many real dangers on the road which must be confronted everyday by cyclists. 
   


The speed of motor traffic has an effect on the severity of injuries suffered by cyclists – severity increases with the speed limit, meaning that riders are more likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries on higher speed roads. 



The poor design of roads and junctions increases the danger to cyclists. Almost two thirds of cyclists killed or seriously injured were involved in collisions at, or near, a road junction, with T junctions being the most commonly involved. 



Irresponsible driver behaviour has been shown to be the cause of many collisions with cyclists. In collisions involving a bicycle and another vehicle, the most common key contributory factor recorded by the police is 'failed to look properly' by either the driver or rider, especially at T junctions. 'Failed to look properly' was attributed to the car driver in 74% of injury collisions in London and to the cyclist in 26%. 



Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) present a particular danger for cyclists, especially in London where around 50% of cyclist fatalities involve an HGV. These often occur when an HGV is turning left at a junction'. About one quarter of accidents resulting in serious injury to a cyclist involved an HGV, bus or coach 'passing too close' to the rider. 



Safety in numbers is the principle that the more people we get cycling, the safer they are. Given that we know that lots of people are put off cycling by the danger/perceived danger we need to work hard to reduce exposure to risk by reducing potential conflicts between cyclists and other road users. Governments have for too long failed to commit to sustained investment to promote cycling as a normal everyday choice of transport.

This briefing note was put together by members of the UK Cycling Alliance (UKCA) and has been supported by a wider group of organisations. For more information about UKCA members, please see: The Bicycle Association, British Cycling, Cyclenation, CTC, LCC and Sustrans.
 

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Commons Briefing Note - KSIs.pdf204.87 KB

9 user comments

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Interesting to note that rural A roads are identified as the most dangerous places to cycle. Is the emphasis of Cyclesafe wrong? Or are people now accepting that the bicycle is only viable in cities and we give up on rural cyling?

posted by bobbypuk [18 posts]
23rd February 2012 - 11:15

1 Like

I found Chart 2 interesting - if not surprising - so MAMILs do the most miles per year - no surprise

Buddha said:

Believe nothing, No matter where you read it,
Or who has said it, Not even if I have said it,
Unless it agrees with your own reason
And your own common sense.

mad_scot_rider's picture

posted by mad_scot_rider [564 posts]
23rd February 2012 - 12:05

1 Like

rural A roads are the most dangerous sections of the UK road network for all users, car drivers and motorcyclists included

it is interesting how cyclists live longer

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2289 posts]
23rd February 2012 - 12:24

0 Likes

Urgh, shouldn't have read that before my commute home across Oxford West and Abingdon...

posted by DNAse [22 posts]
23rd February 2012 - 17:37

1 Like

I sometimes have to use an A road on route but I try to keep time on them to a minimum as motorists will speed on them. I would favour looking at all speed limits not just urban and residential. I'm convinced that rural B roads would be better off at 50mph rather than 60mph and possibly A roads the same.

I'm sure the usual 'lower speed reduces productivity' argument would be balanced by the the 'saved fuel costs' and 'less road closures due to accidents' argument. Sally Traffic on Radio 2 bangs on about A road closures everyday 'due to an accident.."

Glad the whole debate is finally gathering momentum. It's just a shame 16 people had to die last year in London alone to get 'the great and the good' wondering if cars should share the road carefully with everyone else.
Plain Face

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1084 posts]
24th February 2012 - 16:00

1 Like

After looking at the stats sheet it's interesting that the deaths are the second lowest in 61 years - but the serious injuries stat is the highest yet. Like Afghanistan this is indicative of better trauma care rather than real fewer deaths. More people would be dead if medicine wasn't much better after 10 years of war than it was in the past.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1084 posts]
24th February 2012 - 16:13

1 Like

"A depressingly high proportion of short trips are made by car, 23% under a mile, 33% 1 – 2 miles, and 79% 2 – 5 miles."

Err ...135%??!!

posted by veseunr [282 posts]
28th February 2012 - 11:55

1 Like

veseunr wrote:
"A depressingly high proportion of short trips are made by car, 23% under a mile, 33% 1 – 2 miles, and 79% 2 – 5 miles."

Err ...135%??!!

I think that 23% of trips under a mile are made by car, 33% of trips between 1 and 2 miles and 79% of trips between 2 and 5 miles...

posted by step-hent [698 posts]
28th February 2012 - 12:59

1 Like

Thought I was being a thicky!! Thinking

Makes much more sense now!!!! Big Grin

Thanks,
Professor Veseunr, PhD in Statistics, University of Cambridge

posted by veseunr [282 posts]
28th February 2012 - 15:14

1 Like