Cyclist Deaths Increase But Roads Become Safer

by Canter on July 10, 2013

The number of deaths among cyclists rose last year, despite the fact that the overall number of deaths on the road went down. According to official figures, the number of people killed on a bicycle rose from 107 in 2011 to 118 in 2012 – an increase of 10%.

There were a total of 1,754 deaths on Britain’s roads in accidents reported to the police in 2012, 8% lower than the equivalent figure for 2011.

According to The Department of Transport, “the number of pedal cyclists reported to the police as seriously injured in a road accident increased by 4% to 3,222. There is a well-established upward trend in pedal cyclist casualties; this is eighth year that the number of seriously injured cyclist casualties has increased.”

It’s not just motorists that suffered fewer fatalities in 2012. The same figures show that 420 pedestrians were killed in 2012 – 7% fewer than in 2011 – but the number of pedestrians seriously injured rose 2% to 5,559.

The question is, has cycling has become more dangerous or just that more people are deciding to take to the road on two wheels?

What are the reasons?

There are many attempts to explain why there has been such a rise in cyclist deaths over the past few years, even though road accidents as a whole have decreased.

One such view is that people are taking to their bikes in an attempt to find a cheaper and more environmentally friendly option to the car. High petrol prices, road tax and even the London congestion charge have meant that the car is now not an automatic choice for people as they go about their business.

Another reason could be the resurgence in cycling. Riding a bike has never been more popular, especially following the London Olympics. The popularity of events such as the Tour de France has meant bike sales are at an all time high, meaning more cyclists on the road.

It could be that new cyclists who are taking to the road do not get the correct training and information when it comes to riding a bike on the road, meaning they could be putting their lives at risk.

As well as inexperienced cyclists, poor driving could also be a factor as the number of accident claims by cyclists injured in accidents continues to climb, suggesting they have been involved in accidents that they were not to blame for.

For many years cyclists have complained that motorists don’t give them enough room on the road and simply don’t see them at junctions and roundabouts, something that road safety officers look at closely on a regular basis.

What can be done?

These figures have led to calls for planners to make further improvements for bike users on the roads. More cycle lanes, wider carriageways and better awareness from motorists is something safety campaigners have strived for, for years.

Julie Townsend, of road safety charity Brake, told the BBC: “Road crashes tear apart families and whole communities. They are also a huge economic burden and preventable through investment in education, engineering and enforcement.”

David Bizley from the RAC agreed. “It is good news that the number of slightly injured casualties continues to fall and that overall child casualties are lower than ever, but it is bad news that more cyclists are being killed or seriously injured,” he explained.

“With more people taking to two wheels following our Olympic success, much needs to be done to ensure the safety of cyclists so that this figure does not continue to rise in the future.”

This article post was written on behalf of Matt Parkinson on accident claims solicitors, Canter Levin & Berg




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