DfT releases 2012 annual report for road casualties

Cyclist injuries up more than cycling miles

by John Stevenson   June 27, 2013  

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

Government statistics released today indicate that serious injuries to cyclists rose faster than bike use in 2012. Deaths and serious injuries sustained by cyclists rose 5 percent, while the total distance traveled by bike rose just 1.2 percent.

The figures, published by the Department for Transport, show that in 2012 cycle fatalities rose from 107 in 2011 to 118.

Serious injuries increased to 3,222 from 3,085 a year previously. There are now a third more serious injuries than the 2005-2009 average - the baseline for comparing progress.

Roger Geffen, CTC Campaigns Director, said: “Although cycle use has increased, serious injuries and deaths to cyclists are increasing faster. The Government needs to respond to the Get Britain Cycling report, which called for substantial investment in cycling facilities, lower speeds and better traffic law enforcement to improve cycle safety as we encourage more people to cycle.”

British Cycling called the incease in cyclist injuries and fatalities “disturbing”.

British Cycling’s Director of Legal and Policy Affairs, Martin Gibbs, said: “It is very disturbing that there has been a 10% increase in cycling deaths and a 4% increase in cycling injuries over the last year.

“Although the number of people cycling is increasing, the number of casualties is increasing at an even faster rate. These statistics show that we rapidly need to improve conditions on the road. If the government is serious about getting Britain cycling we need to ensure that cycling is built in to all new road developments and junctions.”

Both motor traffic and overall road deaths fell between 2011 and 2012, with fatalities at their lowest ever level, 1,754. However, most of that fall represents motor vehicles users, perhaps indicating greater vehicle safety and associated with a fall in motor traffic.

Even motoring bodies recognise the severity of the figures for cyclist deaths and injuries.

IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “The IAM has always warned that failing to match investment in segregated facilities with the growing numbers of cyclists would lead to an increase in death and serious injury and this worrying trend continues.  A ten per cent increase in cycling deaths in a year when the weather suppressed cycling trips is a real red danger signal that simply cannot be ignored.”

London calling

The story is mixed for London. Fatalities were down on both 2011 and the 2005-9 baseline, with 14 cyclist deaths in 2012. However, the fatal and seriously injured figure for cyclists was up 18 percent year on year and up 60 percent compared to 2005-9.

Some of the increase is down to the increased popularity of cycling in the last decade, but it will add further ammunition to campaigners’ calls for safety-orientated Dutch-style dedicated cycling infrastructure that the increased popularity of cycling in the capital is at the cost of more injured cyclists.

7 user comments

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...and associated with a fall in motor traffic.

So we had a higher rate of cycling casualties even though there was less motor traffic?

Confused Confused

neildmoss's picture

posted by neildmoss [201 posts]
27th June 2013 - 13:00


Or to put it another way "the standard of driving is at an all time low" Sad

posted by cbrndc [12 posts]
27th June 2013 - 13:34


No random traffic police, no chance of getting caught, no incentive to drive within the law, simple, lets start funding traffic police through traffic fines, the more fines given out the more resources to police traffic. Or is that too logical for a country that thought speed cameras were a hidden tax.


posted by solkanofastera [24 posts]
27th June 2013 - 13:58


I'm really not sure about segregated cycle lanes etc - it just conditions motorists not to consider cyclists as another genuine road user. As such, on roads where there are no cycle lanes (rural etc) the motorists put cyclists at risk because they aren't used to dealing with it (and think you shouldn't be on the road in the first place). Cyclists should be fighting for the road, not being driven off it - can't put cycle lanes on every road can we.

Another issue with the rise in popularity of cycling is the inexperience of newbies. Having ridden a couple of sportives lately I was horrified at the standard of riding by some. No road/traffic awareness at all and a danger in a group ride. That said, even the most experienced and skilled rider can be taken out by the an inexperienced and/or dangerous driver...

If drivers got sent to jail with a genuine sentence for killing/injuring cyclists then this might help wake drivers up. As it stands at the moment you can kill a cyclist in a car and get nothing more than a slapped wrist and a £1 fine from some clueless fuck-wit of a judge.

posted by fatty [74 posts]
27th June 2013 - 18:11


I can't help thinking the half baked 'road safety' precautions are to blame for some of the increase. The more time motorists are worried about avoiding traffic calming, yellow boxes, speed cameras, speed bumps, traffic islands they are not looking out for cyclists. A lot of these measures push bikes and cars together and increase the amount of things to consider while driving.

I feel a lot safer on NSL roads with cars moving past faster, but 99% of the time with a more than safe distance.

posted by Topcat [20 posts]
27th June 2013 - 18:26


Given that the number of deaths is around 100 and the increase is approximately 10, this increase is statistically an insignificant increase since it is about root of the initial number and we are dealing with something that is essentially random. It is only trends over a longer time that are relevant. That being said, 118 cyclist deaths is still too high (but statistically, it was no more likely you would die on the roads in 2011 than last year).

posted by Moylj1 [8 posts]
27th June 2013 - 21:46


Bad road design, more inexperienced cyclists and inadequate enforcement and punishment of bad driving... anyone except government fail to see this coming?

posted by a.jumper [711 posts]
28th June 2013 - 8:50