A blog in the Guardian has highlighted a significant gender imbalance in the number of male and female cyclists killed each year.
Under the heading ‘How are cyclists most likely to die?’ Helen Pidd, the Guardian’s north of England editor, analyses figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS)*. The data shows that in 2014, 88 cyclists were killed riding their bikes on roads in England and Wales – 73 men and 15 women.
The blog argues that the imbalance is primarily because more men cycle than women; census data from 2011 suggests men are twice as likely to commute to work by bike and the 2014 National Travel Survey revealed that males of all ages made more than three times as many cycle trips as females.
Interestingly, another recent study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that the lower casualty rate among female cyclists – and in other modes of transport – is because women tend to make more ‘conservative risk choices’ than men.
The Guardian blog also highlights than men are more likely to die simply by falling off their bikes than being hit by a truck: 20 male cyclists (and two female cyclists) died in a “non-collision transport incident”. That compares with 15 cyclists (nine men, six women) killed after “collision with heavy transport vehicle or bus”.
The blog also reveals that one male cyclist was killed when hit by a train, and two men, both aged 65+, after a “collision with pedestrian or animal”. Five men and one woman died following a “collision with fixed or stationary object”.
The ONS mortality statistics are based on details collected when deaths are certified and registered (unlike the DfT stats, which show more cyclists’ deaths).