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Number of cyclists killed on Britain's roads at record low in 2015

However, DfT says people were cycling less last year

The number of cyclists killed on Great Britain’s roads in 2015 was the lowest since records began according to the latest figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT).

In its Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2015 report, the DfT says that 100 cyclists lost their lives as a result of road traffic collisions during 2015, a 12 per cent fall on the previous year, and down 10 per cent on the 2010-14 average.

It adds that in the decade since 2005, a year in which 148 people on bikes were killed, fatalities have dropped by 32 per cent, with most of that fall occurring in the first five years of the period.

At 3,239, the number of cyclists seriously injured, however, while 5 per cent below the 2014 figure, was up 4 per cent on the annual average between 2010 and 2014.

A further 15,505 cyclists were slightly injured last year, down 13 per cent on 2014 and 3 per cent on the 2010-14 average.

Year-on-year fluctuations are not of course indicative of long-term trends especially where, in terms of fatalities, there is such a small sample size, and account also needs to be taken of total distance travelled, something that is notoriously difficult to quantify when it comes to cyclists.

Advances in trauma surgery are a possible explanation behind why deaths are falling but serious injuries rising, with some seriously injured riders now surviving injuries that may have resulted in loss of life a few years ago - but the poorer weather in 2015 compared to the previous 12 months is also likely to have been a factor.

Some 3.2 billion vehicle miles were undertaken on bicycles during 2015, 6 per cent down on the previous year, but 3 per cent above the 2010-14 average.

The DfT said: “Rather than the decrease in cyclist casualties in 2015 reflecting an improvement in road safety, it might relate more to exposure.

“Pedal cycling traffic rose by 10 per cent between 2013 and 2014 (although this is a revision to the original estimate of 4 per cent).”

It added: “2014 was a very warm year, particularly during spring and autumn.

“As temperatures rise, more cyclists tend to use the roads. Therefore it is likely that good weather in 2014 led to a large spike in cycling and a related increase in casualties.

“As 2015 was not as warm (particularly during the periods of the year where cycling is more common), cycling traffic has reverted to a level that would be more expected and casualties have followed.”

The total number of people killed on Britain’s roads, and the number seriously injured, each fell by 3 per cent against 2014 – standing respectively at 1,730, the second lowest since records began, and 22,144.

The DfT said that in terms of total deaths on the roads, “there is no clear upwards or downwards pattern between the years” since 2010.

The only logical conclusion for this is that there is no net change in road safety specifically relating to road deaths in Britain at the moment,” it added.

This does not mean that nothing at all is changing. It is possible that interventions and improvements (eg in vehicle technology or medical care) are saving more lives, yet these savings are being offset elsewhere – for instance, in the increase in traffic volumes, or in more vulnerable road users.”

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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13 comments

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alansmurphy | 7 years ago
0 likes

We should not be too worried if the number drops anyway - proving that improved infrastructure decreases deaths and encourages cycling is a positive message for further investment...

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Griff500 | 7 years ago
1 like

Cycling UK present the figures in a much more logical way:  http://www.cyclinguk.org/resources/cycling-uk-cycling-statistics#How many people think that cycling is too dangerous?

This shows that in 2004-7 there were about 52 deaths per billion cycled miles per year. This fell quite dramatically by 2009 to around 35 deaths per billion miles, and has been fairly stable since then.  During the same period, the total of serious injuries plus fatalities has increased significantly, so overall things are getting worse.

To look for the silver lining, 1 death every 27 million cycling miles sounds pretty low. But it's disappointing to see no progress in the last 8 years.

 

Avatar
kitsunegari replied to Griff500 | 7 years ago
3 likes
Griff500 wrote:

Cycling UK present the figures in a much more logical way:  http://www.cyclinguk.org/resources/cycling-uk-cycling-statistics#How many people think that cycling is too dangerous?

 

4% of commuting journeys are by bicycle? An absolutely dismal statistic that the government should be ashamed of.

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the little onion | 7 years ago
2 likes

The 2005-2009 averagefor general road deaths and KSI is slightly misleading, as there was a strong downwards trend within this period. Overall road deaths HALVED between 1998 and 2007, due to concerted government efforts (it correlates nicely with the number of speed cameras) - a massive achievement. We haven't had the same government effort put into cycling safety though.

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Bez | 7 years ago
1 like

The source is DfT and yes, it's a fairly universally held view that pedal cycle slight injuries are significantly under reported.

However, you'd hope that they'd manage to include the fatalities. At least five of the omissions involved multiple parties and some have already gone to court.

Fatality figures are fickle and very easily abused, though. I've not yet got round to writing about why that is and what the problems are.

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brooksby | 7 years ago
2 likes

Where does the data come from? If A&E or police figures, then it *can't* include every "slightly injured", for example. Not every injury requires a hospital visit; not every collision is reported to, or recorded by, the police.

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Stumps replied to brooksby | 7 years ago
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brooksby wrote:

Where does the data come from? If A&E or police figures, then it *can't* include every "slightly injured", for example. Not every injury requires a hospital visit; not every collision is reported to, or recorded by, the police.

It will be some long winded shifty algorithm. It's the same with their figures on how many people are cycling. No one I know has been asked if they cycle so HOW do they work it out ?

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davel | 7 years ago
4 likes

Yes, this really is obnoxious government doublespeak: claim to be behind a 'cycling revolution' while overseeing victim-blaming ads and zero improvement in KSIs.

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burtthebike | 7 years ago
4 likes

So the trend hasn't changed?  And no-one at DfT or anywhere else in government gives a flying....

But worry not!  They've got it covered!!  Hang back.

Given the total failure of the road safety strategy for the past ten years for vulnerable road users, one might have hoped that the DfT would have started telling drivers not to kill us, not just keep repeating the mantra that it's up to us not to get killed.

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sean1 | 7 years ago
3 likes

According to Beyond the Kerb the real number is slightly higher  (106 or more) as DfT failed to include all data (e.g. none from Lancashire).

http://beyondthekerb.org.uk/casebook/cycling-fatalities-2015-stats19-dis...

But the trend is still the same.  No real improvement.

 

 

 

 

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WillRod | 7 years ago
3 likes

I am shocked that it was 100 and they consider that to be low!

I thought it was maybe 30 or 40 per year, but nowhere near 100.

 

 

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Grahamd | 7 years ago
3 likes

Incorrect headline should read something more like - No Change in Cycle Fatalies since 2008.

 

Extract copied from Reported road casualties in Great Britain: main results 2015 - Page 11

Although the number of pedal cyclists killed on the roads in 2015 was the lowest figure on record, the 100 fatalities is very similar to the figures for each year since 2008. Since that point, the number of deaths has been between 104 (2009) and 118 (2012), with 113 in 2014. In statistical terms, there has been no change in the number of fatalities over this period.

 

Lies, damned lies and statistics, poor reporting Road CC.

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tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
1 like

tldr;

 

no progress

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