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.”
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.
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.