Pedestrians

Briefing
Contrary to popular belief, cyclists are not a major danger to pedestrians

Pedestrians

Headline Message 
  • Research shows that cyclists are perfectly able to mix harmoniously with pedestrians and, contrary to popular belief, are not a major danger to them.
  • Even though, unlike driving, most cycling takes place where there are high levels of pedestrian activity, pedestrians are more likely to be killed in collision with a motor vehicle than in collision with a cycle. This includes collisions that happen on the verge or footway (pavement).
Policy Key Facts 
  • The vast majority of pedestrians who are killed or injured in collisions are hit by a motor vehicle, not a cycle. From 2007 to 2016 (GB), in any location (i.e. in the road or on the footway, urban and rural):
    • Cycles were involved on average in about three pedestrian fatalities a year, and 82 serious injuries. This represents c.0.6% of pedestrian fatalities overall, and 1.5% of serious injuries.
    • Cars were involved on average in about 317 pedestrian fatalities a year, and 4,394 serious injuries. This represents around 67.5% of pedestrian fatalities, and over four fifths (81%) of pedestrian serious injuries.
    • Altogether, motor vehicles (i.e. cars, motorbikes, buses, vans, lorries etc.) were involved in 99.4% of collisions in which a pedestrian died.
  • In 2016, 43 pedestrians died in collisions involving a vehicle on the footway or verge. None of them involved a cycle.
  • From 2007-16, no pedestrians in Britain were killed by red light jumping cyclists, while around five a year were killed by red light jumping drivers.
  • An official study of pedestrian priority sites in the 1990s found only one pedestrian/cyclist incident in 15 site years. 
Cycling UK View 
  • Cyclists should behave responsibly and within the law.
  • Cyclists do very little harm to other road users, including pedestrians.
  • Unlike driving, most cycling takes place in areas of high pedestrian activity, but it poses far less risk to pedestrians than motor vehicles. This is the case even for pavement cycling and red light jumping, neither of which Cycling UK condones.
  • Cyclists and pedestrians are able to interact far more harmoniously, even in crowded conditions, than is often thought.
  • People who are frail or who suffer sensory or mobility impairments are often understandably reluctant to share space with cyclists. Trials, however, usually prove that cyclists very rarely put any pedestrian in a hazardous situation. Codes of practice - backed up as required by policing - are preferable solutions, rather than undermining the promotion of safe cycling for fear of the actions of a minority.
Download the full detailed campaign briefing 
Even in crowded conditions, cyclists are perfectly able to mix harmoniously with pedestrians and, contrary to popular belief, they are not a major danger to them.