Cyclist casualty spike sparks calls for action

13.03 | 20 December 2011 | | 11 comments

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.


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    As a Bikeability Instructor and a Member of British Cycling I would like to see a television campaign promoting Bikeability and one of the principles that Bikebilty trains is to ride away from the kerb.

    Many times whilst cycling motorists are angry that cyclists are not riding next to the kerb where for many years cylcists rode. I feel that the Think campaign should promote this via the media so that motorists will be aware cyclists will no longer ride next to the kerb ensuring that cyclists are more visible to the motorist.

    Lorraine Doran Solihull MBC
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Before this decends into a car drivers vs cyclist mud slinging match lets make the point that while humans are directly involved in road use then bad decisions and mistakes will continue to be made regardless of the mode of the user. All road users need to take responsibility for their own safety and that of those around them.

    There is an apparent increase in the amount of cycling so it is to be expected that the numbers of casualties will increase. What’s key is the casualty rate as someone else has already mentioned.

    Dave, Leeds
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    As long as cyclists go through lights on red, ride on the pavement, or ride 2 abreast they will be involved in accidents.

    Should read:

    As long as car drivers continue to break the speed limit, drive whilst using a mobile phone, drive whilst under the influence of drugs/alcohol, drive unroadworthy cars, break red lights then there will be accidents.

    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    DHL delivers Truck And Child Safety (TACS) training to children aged between 7 and 11 usually in the school setting. Whilst this is viewed as great for the kids it never fails to amaze me how many teachers and classroom assistants are shocked by the lack of vision from a truck cab.

    In my opinion, if the average cyclist had this insight their risk factor would be decreased.

    Why not call on your local haulier/logistics company to support you in delivering this insight at your location? Yes, I know the hardcore red light jumpers probably won’t come but they’ll just have to ‘learn’ the hard way.

    Pierre, Manchester
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    “As long as cyclists go through lights on red, ride on the pavement, or ride 2 abreast they will be involved in accidents.
    T. Heywood Stockport ”

    I’d counter that with as long as motor cars, lorries and vans go through lights on red, ride / park on the pavement and have no regard for other road users then cyclists will be involved in ‘accidents’.

    Stephen, Merseyside
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    In Milton Keynes a dedicated network of cycleways currently exists called Redways and they run in parallel with the road network. However an increasing number of cyclists insist on cycling on the road network thereby increasing the risk of injury and fatality. Maybe offering a dedicated separation therefore is not the answer.

    Jim Lynch – Milton Keynes.
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    I bet they are suffering at junctions, roundabouts and SMIDSY sorry mate I didn’t see u.

    WE now all know (it’s well recorded and no doubt is becoming an acceptable defence to a motorcycle accident) because of a fault in our makeup , when it comes to recognising danger a driver will steer clear of a bus approaching him but not a motorcyclists who funny enough is about the same size of a cyclist.

    Pity the poor cyclists, the more there are of them and the more miles they do, the more KSI there will be and by becoming a special case in many ways and wanting greater protection, they now have to put up with woonerfs and shared space.

    What a way to go, greater danger and less legislation, sorry red tape, to protect themselves with.

    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    In Manchester GMTU safety team has linked cyclist KSI increases to cyclist miles travelled.

    Peter Whitfield Manchester
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    As long as cyclists go through lights on red, ride on the pavement, or ride 2 abreast they will be involved in accidents.

    T. Heywood Stockport
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I am concerned that these stories come out with only partial, selected data and that the full data is rarely presented.

    A key question might be “how many miles are cycled each month?”. Is this data collected? I have noticed what I believe to be an increase in cycling in recent years (even now when cold) but I don’t cycle in the winter, the period in question.

    Also, it would be very useful if the DfT could publish the contributory factors to these collisions for each severity which at least gives some basis on which to have a valid opinion.

    As road safety is now so political, it would really help all issues if the DfT were to publish the contributory factors and other relevent data such that solutions could actually be based on some kind of evidence base.

    Dave Finney – Slough
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    You can see from the picture why cyclists may be encouraged to ride up the near side of large vehicles.

    Gareth, Surrey
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