The Department for Transport has just released its latest road casualty statistics, and while the number of deaths and injuries on the road has fallen overall, the picture for cyclists is less encouraging.
The report shows that cyclists remain one of the most vulnerable groups of road users in Britain, making up a significant proportion of the seriously injured casualties. In fact, statistics show that pedal cyclists (along with pedestrians) are roughly 11 times more likely to be killed in a road crash than car occupants.*
The statistics show that there has been a 10% rise in cycle deaths in 2012 compared to 2011 and the number of pedal cycle casualties (killed or seriously injured) has risen steadily since 2004.**
This is in line with data from National Accident Helpline which shows that the number of cyclists contacting the company after being injured in a collision has increased dramatically in 2012 compared to the previous year (14%).
The report by the DfT also states that injuries to pedal cyclists, especially slight injuries, are likely to be underreported in road crash data collected by the police.
The data held by the DfT may therefore be under representative of the actual number of pedal cyclists who were injured on the roads. National Accident Helpline marketing director Beth Powell states: "These statistics are shocking and show that we need to protect vulnerable road users from danger. We also urge all cyclists to stay safe and vigilant on the roads." Joe Burns from Road Safety charity Brake said:
"Brake believes that everyone has the right to walk or cycle safely. As these worrying figures show, cyclists are particularly vulnerable road users and drivers have a particular responsibility to look out for and protect cyclists. We should also be doing everything we can to make the road environment safer, and help get more people cycling without threat of injury. Brake is actively campaigning for 20mph speed limits and segregated cycle lanes to make roads safer for people on foot and bike.
There is some good news for cyclists in the capital though. Last week Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, passed a measure to ban heavy trucks which don't have cyclist safety equipment such as side guards or proper mirrors from travelling on the city's busiest roads.
According to the Mayor, “There is a real problem with lorries. They make up about 4 per cent of vehicles in London and cause about 53 per cent of cycle accidents.”