Latest Transport for London figures show a downward trend in cycling deaths and injuries, but concerns have been raised over motorcyclist safety

The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in London fell by 10 per cent in 2015, according to the latest figures from Transport for London (TfL).

According to TfL’s annual Casualties in Greater London report, the total number of people killed or seriously injured (KSIs) on London’s roads fell by three per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, to the lowest number since records began. This is 42 per cent lower than TfL’s baseline, 2005-09.

Nine cyclists were killed on the capital’s roads in 2015 compared with 13 in 2014. Injuries to people riding bicycles fell by ten per cent to 378, the lowest number since 2006. In 2014, 432 cyclists were seriously injured, in 2013, 475.

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The total number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads last year fell from 2,167 to 2,092. However, the number of fatalities rose from 127 to 136 compared with 2014.

The London Cycling Campaign’s (LCC) Tom Bogdanowicz said: “LCC welcomes the fall in injuries and urges the Mayor to pursue policies such as safer lorries and high grade cycle superhighways that will bring the collision rate down further”.

He said: “TfL does not yet publish rate based data (number of injuries per mile travelled) as requested by LCC which means it is hard to assess the actual change in road danger. We understand that TfL are considering publication of such data.”

The cycling KSI figures are set against a background of increasing cycle use in the capital. Cycling levels rose by 10.3 per cent between 2013 and 2014, equating to a 125.3 per cent increase since 2000. It is expected in coming years that in rush hour more people on bikes will enter the capital than cars. A few weeks after the latest protected cycle superhighways opened, cyclist numbers reached 1,200 per hour, outnumbering cars in rush hour.

TfL says that while it is on course for its 50% road casualty reduction target by 2020 concerns remain about motorcyclists. Nine more motorbike riders were killed on the roads in 2015 compared with 2014 (36 up from 27), although TfL points out the long term trend is a downward one, with total motorcycle KSIs down by 32 per cent.

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “We are making good progress in reducing death and serious injury on our roads and meeting our target of a 50 per cent reduction by 2020. However, there remains an enormous amount to do and we are, in particular, deeply concerned about the rise in the number of fatal collisions involving motorcyclists.  We are taking a range of actions to tackle this, including working with the Motorcycle Industry Association, funding for accredited training centres and one-to-one motorcycle commuter training, and improving street design for motorcyclists."

TfL's road safety strategy, focuses on tackling the five key sources of road dangers: travelling too fast, distractions, carrying out risky manoeuvers, driving under the influence of drink or drugs and failing to comply with the laws of the road. 

Last year former mayor, Boris Johnson, attributed falling cycling casualty rates in part to Operation Safeway, an ongoing operation by the Metropolitan Police targeting dangerous vehicles, as well as cyclists, on London’s roads. In September, London’s Safer Lorry Scheme came into effect, requiring all vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes to be fitted with sideguards and mirrors.

However, Bogdanowicz points out, of nine cyclist fatalities in 2015, seven involved an HGV, emphasising the importance of London Mayor, Sadiq Khan's commitment to "deliver a direct vision standard for HGVs".

Khan said the standard will be published later this year. He told LCC he will lobby to ensure truck design better takes cyclist safety into account. 

He said: “TfL will also work with vehicle manufacturers, regulators, the Department for Transport and freight operators to ensure proposed standards are as far reaching as practicable within current legislation, are fit for purpose and can be implemented as quickly as possible.

"This standard is the key to getting ever greater numbers of safer trucks operating on the streets of London. I am also developing a plan to enable TfL, the rest of the GLA family and other public and private sector." 

Pedestrian KSIs decreased by six per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, also the lowest number since records began. However, there were two more fatalities compared with the previous year (66 up from 64).

A 31% increase in the number of people seriously injured in private hire vehicles is also a matter for concern, says TfL, in the light of rapid increases in the number of private hire vehicles operating in London. One person was killed in a private hire vehicle in 2015, while 17 were seriously injured.