Home
Cyclist KSIs up for eighth year running

The Department for Transport has today published  a summary of its 2012 Annual Report on Reported Road Casualties for Great Britain, a year in which 118 cyclists, 11 more than in 2011, lost their lives on the roads of England, Scotland and Wales.

That headline finding was announced earlier this year. Digging into the data there is one type of crash that seems to account for the increase, though it should be noted at this point that is impossible to assess trends properly without reference to total distance ridden and there are no reliable national figures.

In 2011, five cyclists were killed in crashes that included as a contributory factor ‘cyclist entering road from pavement’. In 2012, that figure rose to 21.

Take those figures out of the death toll and you are left with a drop from 102 deaths in 2011 to 97 in 2012.

Given the relatively small number of deaths, the total of deaths and serious injuries (KSIs) can be a better indicator of a trend. For 'cyclists entering road from pavement' this dropped from 221 to 196. It therefore seems likely that the size of the increase in cyclist deaths between 2011 and 2012 is a statistical fluke.

However, the long-term trend is still toward more cyclist KSIs, a figure that has increased every year since 2005 and was up 4 percent between 2011 and 2012.

In this accompanying video, the DfT makes the point that 2012 was one of the wettest years on record and that the rate of cyclist deaths and serious injuries might have been even worse had the weather been better.

While the DfT has not yet published a comprehensive analysis of its data, some of the underlying tables are available.

Examining them throws up some more interesting information. Cyclists are often accused of riding carelessly, yet the data on contributory factors shows that the road users who make the most mistakes leading to crashes are light van and HGV drivers and motorcyclists. Only 36 percent of cyclist crashes had rider error as a factor, compared to 48, 46 and 44 percent for van drivers, motorcyclists and HGV drivers respectively. Those road users are all trained and licensed, of course, which makes the apparent lack of road sense here doubly surprising.

Failing to look properly - the ‘Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You’ or SMIDSY factor - remains the most common contributory factor in crashes, at 45 percent of all crashes and 451 fatalities. That’s been steadily increasing over the last few years, from 38 percent in 2008.

Overall, the trend in road safety is of continuing improvement. In 2012 there were 1,742 deaths on the roads, down from 8,000 in 1966, and that despite an increase in population and twice as many motor vehicles on the road.

 

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

8 comments

Avatar
mrmo [2015 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

makes the point that 2012 was one of the wettest years on record and that the rate of cyclist deaths and serious injuries might have been even worse had the weather been better.

hmm... and 2013 has had one of the best summers in recent years....

Do the DfT actually intend to do anything or is this just another item to be talked about?

Avatar
a.jumper [845 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
mrmo wrote:

Do the DfT actually intend to do anything or is this just another item to be talked about?

Just talk about, I suspect: it still uses language like "road accidents" like it's all stuff like meteors falling from the sky, not that bad road design and bad education has any part to play.

STOP THE ROAD MURDERS!

Avatar
Rob PC [11 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Bare numbers, whilst each illustrative of a tragedy, are not the statistic we should look at. There's been a marked increase in the number of journeys by bike and miles cycled in the last 2 years (I expect), so what's the ratio of KSI to miles ridden?

If this is going up, the problem is getting worse. If this is going down then the solutions are working. If this is static then the solutions aren't working but neither is the problem getting worse

Avatar
OldRidgeback [2554 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

It is worth looking at the overall picture for the UK. There were 1,754 people killed in road crashes on UK roads in 2012, a drop of 8% from 2011. Note that vehicle traffic was more or less the same, registering a drop of a mere 0.4% from 2011 to 2012.

Looking back a few years, the drop in road fatalities is more notable and there were 2,222 killed on UK roads in 2009 for instance. Since 1979 when accurate data collection began, there has been a six fold fall in deaths from drink driving in the UK.

No specific analysis has been made of the increase in cycling and there is as yet, no direct correlation with the increase in cycling fatalities in 2012 compared with 2011.

The bigger picture is that road fatalities continue to drop in the UK, as well as in just about every western developed nation. Consider that in the US for instance, road annual fatality levels are now at the same level as in 1950, when the US population was smaller, vehicle numbers were perhaps a 20th of today's figure and total distances travelled were a fraction of what they are today.

While every road fatality is an avoidable tragedy (I refuse to use the word accident, because they aren't), things are nowhere near as bad as they were and most particularly in the late 1970s when the fatality levels peaked.

Anyone who has ever ridden or driven in a developing country should be well aware of how much worse the situation is elswhere. Iran for instance has a ferociously high road fatality rate and that's in spite of the fact that as an Islamic country, drinking and driving is not a major issue.

Worldwide around 1.2 million people/year are killed in road crashes. The death rate is spiralling in the developing world and road crashes are rapidly outstripping HIV, malaria and war to become the biggest killer. This is why the UN started its Decade of Action for Road Safety in 2010.

Avatar
congokid [252 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
OldRidgeback wrote:

things are nowhere near as bad as they were and most particularly in the late 1970s when the fatality levels peaked.

I wonder how much this reduction in road deaths in the western world can be accounted for by a displacement to death by other means - obesity and related diseases, for instance, as people stop cycling or walking and take to motorised transport. I'm sure marginally more people cycled in the '70s in the UK at least.

Avatar
OldRidgeback [2554 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
congokid wrote:
OldRidgeback wrote:

things are nowhere near as bad as they were and most particularly in the late 1970s when the fatality levels peaked.

I wonder how much this reduction in road deaths in the western world can be accounted for by a displacement to death by other means - obesity and related diseases, for instance, as people stop cycling or walking and take to motorised transport. I'm sure marginally more people cycled in the '70s in the UK at least.

The reduction in the fatality rate on the road networks of the western nations comes down pretty much to the attitude to drink driving then compared with now. That, plus enforcement. Back in the 70s drinking and driving was something people did and no one really batted an eye. Now it's considered socially unacceptable. Back then the cops rarely stopped people for drink driving, whereas now they do. Overall, there has been a change in attitude to road use and surprising as it may seem, people do actually drive better. Bad driving is not tolerated to the same degree as before and the police enforcement and penalties for offenders have had a huge impact.

Vehicles also are better. They have more crash protection, better brakes and handling at speed has improved.

As to the numbers of people cycling now compared with then, I don't have data on that.

Avatar
Kestevan [59 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

All of the reduction will be taken up by some other form of death eventually.

Life - no one gets out alive.  19

Avatar
Yorkshie Whippet [499 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

100% of all deaths are cause by someone being alive.
100% of divorces are caused by marrige.

 1