There has been a significant rise in the number of cyclists being killed or seriously injured on Welsh roads according to recent figures from Road Safety Wales. The figures reveal that 138 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in 2014 compared to 100 in 2013.
The Welsh Government is aiming to cut the numbers of people killed or seriously hurt in road traffic incidents by 40 per cent by 2020 compared to the average for 2004-08. However, the comparison is highly unfavourable at present. The average number of cyclists killed or seriously injured for 2004-08 was just 70.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said:
“It is simply too early to say what will happen by 2020. We are committed to improving road safety through a combination of measures including education, engineering and enforcement. However, reducing casualties requires everyone to play their part and take some responsibility.”
It is thought that the rise may have at least partly resulted from an increase in the number of people cycling. In 2013, the Active Travel Bill was passed by the Welsh Assembly, creating a legal duty on local authorities to develop and maintain an integrated network of cycling and walking routes. It was hoped that this might help drive cycling growth.
Despite this, a Statistics for Wales study last year found that only three per cent of people cycled to work and while around 60 per cent own a bike, only six per cent use it at least once a week.
Matt Hemsley, a policy adviser with Sustrans Cymru, told Wales Online that even if cycling levels were on the rise, it was no reason to accept a rise in deaths and injuries.
“Even if the number of cyclists increases it’s not an acceptable reason to then just therefore say: ‘Well then, there will be more killed or seriously injured cyclists’.
“We need to make cycling be a safe everyday activity for everyone aged eight to 80. To do that we need to make sure our roads provide a safe space for cyclists away from traffic.”