Thursday, 5 November 2009

Dramatic rise in cycling deaths and injuries

The number of people killed or seriously injured when cycling on Britain’s roads rose dramatically over the spring,

Statistics published by the Department for Transport (DfT) today showed that 820 cyclists either died or were seriously injured between April and June this year, a 19 per cent rise on the same period in 2008. The number of less severe injuries also rose by almost 10 per cent.

A tricky one, this, for the ‘safety in numbers’ brigade. But not to worry, let’s blame the victims. It’s

a phenomenon cycling campaigners warn could be caused in part by a rush of inexperienced riders taking to the streets, or even an increase in risky cycling behaviour such as red-light jumping.

Nothing to do, then, with the possibility that a cyclist’s exposure to risk on Britain’s roads is massive and getting worse.

David Hembrow:

There is a problem here for those who promote cycling in the UK. While Britain's overall safety record is comparable with that of the Netherlands, British cyclists experience about four times the level of danger. Increasing their numbers will lead to the UK's overall casualty rate worsening.

It’s quite remarkable that the CTC is pushing the same victim-blaming line as the road lobby:

"There will be some naivety among some of these cyclists, " said Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA. "They probably last rode a bike when they were at school and have little experience of riding alongside a lorry."

Where is the evidence that most or indeed any of these dead and injured cyclists were novices? There is none at all, because the statistics do not record such information.

Maybe someone could facilitate a meeting between the CTC's Chris Peck and David Prosser

(Below) The cycling environment in Waltham Forest, on the A503, on a stretch of road where large numbers of drivers break the speed limit and can be seen driving while conversing on handheld mobile phones.