Cyclist casualty spike sparks calls for action
Campaigners are calling for a cyclist safety plan in the wake of figures showing that the number of cyclists killed or seriously hurt on Britain’s roads increased by 12% in the first half of 2011 (Guardian).
The Guardian highlights London as having the greatest problem with 16 cyclists already killed in the capital this year. But there are fears that London's experience is being reflected elsewhere around Britain with road casualties steadily declining for all types of transport, except cycling.
Chris Peck, policy co-ordinator for the CTC, says: “It is a very worrying trend. We'll be asking the Government for a proper cycle safety action plan. There's really been no movement on this at all.
“Ultimately we don't know what's caused the increase in casualties. In part it could be because we're allowing quite a lot of bad driving to go unpunished, which has led to a lowering of standards. There's no pressure on police to rigorously enforce speed limits, particularly lower limits, and we know the Government's view on speed cameras.”
Mike Cavenett, of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), says: “There are two key problems: dangerous junctions and lorries.
“With one or the other you can get fatalities, but when you combine them especially so. You only have to look at the locations where there have been fatalities this year – this is not a surprise to anyone, why this is happening."
Jason Torrance, policy director for Sustrans, says: “Very clearly, the Government hasn't got a coherent and effective road safety strategy that safeguards cyclists.
“One of the things that we hear, time and time again, is that cyclists want safe or segregated routes and that the speed and volume of traffic is a real concern and a real threat."
The DfT says it does take the issue seriously, citing spending such as £11m on Bikeability cycle training.
Mike Penning, the road safety minister, said: “We take the issue of cycle safety extremely seriously and are working to reduce the instances of deaths and serious injuries of cyclists on our roads. The year-on-year rise in the number of cycle casualties may be due to the increase in cycling we have seen in recent years, but we will continue to monitor these figures closely.”
Click here to read the full Guardian report.