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Detailed 2011 casualty figures reveal areas for concern

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The detailed data for the 2011 casualty figures have been published by the Department for Transport, revealing where the worrying rise in casualties - first announced earlier in the year - is happening, and to whom.
Who is getting injured, and how?
Who is getting injured, and how?

Earlier in the year headline figures showed that cycling serious injuries were up by 16% in one year, yet cycling levels remained broadly similar to the year before.

At the time CTC's analysis suggested that some of the cycle use that had been suppressed the previous year (by cold weather) may lie behind the huge increase in cycle casualties.

Now the more detailed data on where, when, to whom and with whom crashes occurred, has been published.

So what else do these new figures tell us?

The MAMIL effect...

The 'Middle Aged Man in Lycra' has appeared in vast numbers on our country lanes, and the rise in 'solo' cycle crashes (ie, not hit by a vehicle) may in part be due to this.

The number of serious injuries reported to police involving no other vehicle has doubled in the last 6 years while over the same time the proportion of cycle fatalities where no other vehicle was involved has risen from 8% to 13% - they still mainly involve, and are the fault of, drivers.

By contrast, there has been little overall change in the proportion of fatalities - or serious injuries - that involve cars (half of deaths, 75% of serious injuries) or lorries (20% of deaths, 3% of serious injuries).

But not just MAMIlLs

According to these new data, however, the big increase in cycle casualties occurred amongst younger people as well, whereas child cycle casualties continued to fall.

The differences is most likely accounted for by the fact that the biggest increases in cycling have been amongst adults, whereas the decline in child cycling is continuing. In November the National Travel Survey will be published which may give a better indication on whether this is true or not.

There is no difference between men and women - against the 2005-09 baseline KSIs for 25-59 year-olds increased by approximately the same amount (42% men, 43% women), and this was similar for other age groups.

Where?

As for where the risk of cycling is greatest - this has changed little since 2010. The risk of cycling on rural A roads remains astonishingly high - over 20 times riskier than on urban minor roads, which - at 8 deaths per billion kms - is lower than the overall risk of cycling in the Netherlands or Denmark, where it is around 12 deaths per billion kms cycled.

As CTC said when the figures first appeared in July, this worrying increase should give a spur to the Department for Transport to start taking cycling a lot more seriously. If we are to capitalise on the huge, positive impact of the Tour de France and the Olympics, the major road network needs to be - and crucially feel - a lot safer than it is at the moment.

 

 

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