Department for Transport reports increase in cyclist serious injuries

More needs to be done to make the roads safer

Department for Transport reports increase in cyclist serious injuries

Statistics released on Thursday by the Department for Transport show an upward trend in road casualties and in cyclists’ serious injuries. CTC argues this highlights the need for a reversal of cuts to roads policing and sustained investment in cycling infrastructure.
The statistics show that overall road deaths increased by 4% in 2014 compared to the previous year. Cyclists’ deaths were up 3.7% from 109 to 113. The number of cyclist fatalities has remained between 104 and 118 since 2008. Pedestrian deaths - up 12% - accounted for three quarters of the increase in overall fatalities.
 
Serious injuries among all road users increased by 5% and by 8.2% among cyclists. With the exception of 2012-2013, the number of seriously injured cyclists has increased every year since a low of 2,174 in 2004. 
Cycling needs to be taken seriously as a transport option, and this means decent cycle infrastructure, consistent funding of at least £10 per head which everyone can enjoy, not just those in designated cities, and visible effective roads policing capable of getting bad drivers off the roads."
 
Rhia Favero, CTC's Road Safety Campaigner
While it is important to note that, according to traffic estimates, cycle traffic increased 3.8% in 2014 compared to 2013, we also know that  there's been more motor vehicle traffic for cyclists to contend with (up 2.4%). This puts the quality of driving under the spotlight - for the tenth year running drivers ‘failing to look properly’ was the most common contributory factor in road collisions. Getting drivers to pay attention to the road is therefore fundamental to reduce road casualties.
 
This can be done through better education, such as by improving the driving test and running nation-wide awareness campaigns, and through effective enforcement of road traffic law so that drivers who don’t give the roads their undivided attention are severely reprimanded. 
 
With roads police numbers dropping 37% from 2002/3 to 2012/14 (while overall police numbers dropped by just 4%), the ability of the police to enforce road traffic law has reduced dramatically, as CTC's Road Justice campaign has stressed repeatedly. Roads police themselves admit they are struggling to cope with stripped back resources. 
 
Police forces across England and Wales face further cuts but CTC thinks that under no circumstances should roads police units be forced to take the brunt of cuts again. 
 
If the Government is serious about its manifesto pledge to reduce the number of cyclists injured and killed, it must meet the DfT’s disturbing statistics with a commitment to strengthen roads policing by reversing the deep financial cuts.
 
It also needs to take cycling seriously as a transport option, by providing decent cycle infrastructure and sustained funding of £10 per head.
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