Cyclist casualties rise in recession

22.46 | 28 December 2011 | | 2 comments

A report in the Guardian suggests that the number of cyclists killed in the UK has risen during three of the last four recessions.

The Guardian suggests that when commuters swap train, tube and car travel for bicycles during periods of austerity, the death toll rises.

Cyclist deaths across the UK rose by 7% in 2010 as government austerity measures were kicking in. In the first half of this year the number of cyclists killed or seriously hurt on UK roads rose 12% year-on-year. Cycle deaths also rose by 58% between 1930 and 1935 and by 14% between 1980 and 1984. After both the 1930s and the 1980s recessions, the number of cycle fatalities fell back once again.

Charlie Lloyd, of the London Cycling Campaign, told the Guardian: "Cycling fatalities in general are not getting any worse. It is likely that any increase in the number of fatalities during a recession is related to an increase in the number of cyclists. More people get on their bike or spend more time on a bike during a recession."

DfT figures show that 60% of cycle casualties in 2010 occurred between 7am–10am and 4pm–7pm as people are travelling to and from work.

Click here to read the full Guardian news report.


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    I don’t see what 20 mph zones has to do with it. As the article points out, the evidence shows cyclist casualties spike during recessions. In the 80s there was a spike, but very few 20 mph zones. It’s related to number of cyclists and the car being the focus of all infrastructure development, not people.

    Stephen, Merseyside
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    I suggest that the widespread use of 20mph schemes is contributing to cycling (and pedestrian) casualties.
    Portsmouth reported increased casualties among vulnerable users from its 20mph experiment. Other authorities are finding that 20mph traffic lulls cyclists and pedestrians into a false sense of security resulting in careless road users being hit by drivers who are concentrating harder than usual on an unrealistically slow speed. The recession may be contributing but there are other factors involved and 20mph zones are just one.

    Eric Bridgstock, St Albans
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