Sunday, 6 December 2009

Cycle Accidents - poor infrastructure = more

Two recent reports highlight how with good separate cycle infrastructure you can reduce cycle accidents dramatically.Here is a report on cycle accidents in the UK :

Department for Transport figures released today show that 820 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in the three months to June this year, a 19% increase on the same period of 2008. More minor injuries rose 7% over the same period.
During the same three months pedestrian deaths and serious injuries dropped 8% year-on-year, while those for car drivers and passengers fell 4%. Motorbike users saw a 5% rise, however.

The CTC  noted that statistics gathered by Transport for London showed that in recent years around 5% of cyclists killed in the capital had been jumping a traffic signal at the time.
"It's not a big factor, but it could be something. It is fair to say that particularly in London, riding behaviour has deteriorated in recent years."

Compare this with the Netherlands :

Nationally the total of bicycle accident deaths hovers around 200.
In Amsterdam about 6 people die in bike-related accidents yearly.
16 million Dutch own 18 million bikes.
About half the population of the NL rides a bike once a day.
The average distance traveled by bike per person per day was 2.5km in 2006.
The bicycle is used for almost a quarter of all journeys, and 35% of journeys below 7.5km.
Overall traffic safety in NL is the best in Europe with 45 deaths per million inhabitants per year.
You’re more likely to die of murder in the US than by cycling in the Netherlands.
You’re more likely to die by drowning in the Netherlands than by cycling.

As the main difference between the two countries is in the cycling facilities and the larger number of cyclists that these encourage I can only conclude that if we are to cut deaths and injuries for cyclists here in the UK we need to spend real money on real facilities, not token white lines on roads.
This of course means a complete sea change in attitude and approach from both National and Local government, and from some of the cycling organisations here in the UK.


  1. But there aren't enough cyclists in the UK to make government build decent off-carriageway facilities.

    Instead government is too often only willing to make tokenist gestures which do more harm than good.

    When is the Rugby-Leamington cycle track going to be finished? (A rhetorical question)

  2. I see this as a much more practical way forward for British towns and cities than hoping for a network of cycle tracks: