Figures for cycling casualties and fatalities for 2010 issued by the Department for Transport should be taken in context as they do not take into account the growth of cycling in Britain over the same period, says national cyclists’ organisation CTC.
Earlier this week, the DfT released road accident figures for the year to September 2010, which show that reported cyclist fatalities and serious injuries rose by two per cent and total casualties, including those slightly injured, rose by three per cent.
The increase was picked up in some media reports with the message that ‘death rate is increasing’ among cyclists as a result of road accidents. However, the CTC notes that when you take into account the rise in number of cyclists using the roads the rate of fatalities is actually falling.
Roger Geffen, CTC campaigns director commented: “Some media reports claimed an increase in cyclist casualties without mentioning the latest annual growth in cycle use. In fact, the rise in the percentage of people cycling far exceeded the rise in cyclists killed.”
“There is international evidence that cycling gets safer the more cyclists there are, because drivers get used to sharing the roads safely with cyclists.”
“More cycling can mean fewer cyclist casualties. For instance cycling on London’s main roads last decade went up by 117 per cent and cyclist casualties fell by 21 per cent. And even if cyclist casualty numbers go up, this can still mean that cycling is getting safer if many more people are cycling, as is happening in Britain.”
The DfT report states that number of pedal cyclist fatalities has dropped by 26 per cent compared to equivalent figures for the 2004-08 period.
Road accident fatalities for all categories of road users fell eight per cent compared to the year leading up to September 2009.
The figures are compiled using police data on road accidents, although the DfT notes that “hospital, survey and compensation claims data all indicate a higher number of casualties than are reported [to police]“.